Police arrest bus vandals caught on video

Police arrest bus vandals caught on video

By Tom Murray. CREATED Oct 2, 2011 - UPDATED: Oct 3, 2011

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee police say three suspects in custody for vandalizing a small bus are just 10, 11 and 14 years old.

The boys likely ruined plans Pat James' family had Saturday morning to convert the recently bought, used bus into a shuttle for patrons traveling between taverns and sporting events.

“I just got sick to my stomach, literally,” James told TODAY’S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray. "I just feel so violated."

On surveillance video captured by Mixx Nightclub near S. 1st Street & W. National Ave., three kids on bicycles are seen riding into a back lot. They broke into the bus. They are seen busting out windows from the inside. One suspect removed the fire extinguisher and used it to spray the bus. One boy hurled a tree to break the front windshield. Another stood on the hood and kicked in the glass.

James' daughter, Lynn Smith, originally planned to run the shuttle as a side job.  However, she recently lost her main job and the bus was going to be her new primary income source.

"With losing my job, I don't know how much more I can put towards it," Smith said.  "I watched the video and they just never stopped. It gets in my head. What could make a kid think that's ok?"

Alderman Jim Witkowiak represents this neighborhood and said young people in Milwaukee “seem to out of control at times.”

While TODAY’S TMJ4 was interviewing Witkowiak, the bar owner spotted two boys on bicycles and believed them to be two of the suspects seen on the video.  Witkowiak and the bar owner drove after the boys. A few blocks away, a TMJ4 camera captured police questioning the boys and moving them into a squad car.

"They need to be punished, seriously punished and after that they need some therapy," Witkowiak said Monday.

An officer later expressed confidence that the boys in custody are the vandalism suspects.

When asked if the boys should be punished, James said, “I definitely would think so.”

James said the bus is likely too badly damaged to be repaired.

Police released the boys to their parents' custody.  A future childrens' court date is set, police said.