Police: Suspect responsible for vandalizing more than 100 vehicles
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A man suspected of vandalizing upwards of 100 vehicles, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damage across the state, is expected in court Friday.
Burlington Police say Micael Bizuneh, 31, was spotted Thursday morning “keying vehicles” on Grant Street. They say 18 vehicles were damaged. After investigating, police learned that Bizuneh had taken a bus from Middlebury that morning. He is suspected of vandalizing about 50 cars in Middlebury, 25 in Vergennes, and eight in Bristol. After Burlington officers arrested him Thursday, they say Bizuneh claimed the FBI was after him.
Police say he has a history of similar erratic behavior, including smashing the windows of six police cruisers with a rock earlier this spring in Burlington, but they say mental health officials on Thursday did not support hospitalizing him.
In a statement, Burlington Police Acting Chief Jon Murad says he has become frustrated by the lack of treatment options and support when it comes to addressing this kind of recurring criminal behavior. “The men and women of the Burlington Police Department are very good at finding and safely apprehending people, even at risk to themselves. But in cases like this, jail is not the best answer. Although it temporarily keeps people and property safe, it doesn’t get at the causes of Mr. Bizuneh’s behavior. Instead, in cases like this, we need more access to custodial mental healthcare, where people can be helped even as they are safely prevented from continuing to victimize innocent Vermonters, and prevented from putting their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others at risk,” he said.
On Thursday, the court ordered Bizuneh to be held ahead of his arraignment Friday.
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