2/11/2014 10:43:00 AM Police arrest Williams residents for vandalism and explosives Hernandez, Campos and Mast face charges including criminal damage, weapon misconduct and harassment
From left: Christian Campos, Victoria Mast and Jose Hernandez. The Williams Police Department arrested the three last week on charges including criminal damage and littering. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is investigating chemical bomb incidents as well. Photos/Coconino County Sheriff’s Office
Williams Police officers arrested three Williams residents last week in connection with crimes ranging from egging cars to setting off explosives.
Jose Manuel Hernandez, 20, Christian Campos, 19, and Victoria Mast, 18, each face seven counts of criminal damage, seven counts of littering, two counts of weapon misconduct and two counts of harassment.
On Feb. 3, six vehicles sustained damage from eggs, ketchup and mustard. Some of the vehicles had derogatory slurs written on them. After a Williams Police Department (WPD) officer observed the three subjects driving around town, he went to a local convenience store and obtained video of them buying the items used to damage the cars.
The next day, the police department arrested the three suspects, two of whom admitted their roles in the crime.
WPD Chief Herman Nixon said that pranks like these are serious because they can damage someone's property.
"The reason we want this out is because we want especially the youth in our community who sometimes think it's okay to throw eggs at cars and things of that nature to understand that eggs and chemicals and ketchup and mustard can ruin paint on vehicles," he said. "And if that occurs, it's a crime."
Nixon estimated that since October, the police department has received about 25 calls for similar egging incidents, and others may not have reported the crime. One victim's car was damaged three nights in a row.
Nixon said he was concerned about the victims of the crimes discovering the damage in the early morning hours before work.
"And now they have to miss work, they have to pay to go get their cars cleaned, and I don't think anybody wants to be in that situation, especially when it's 15 degrees outside and that stuff freezes on your vehicles," he said.
The suspects could possibly face probation, major fines, restitution or jail time for the egging incidents.
On. Feb. 5, Coconino County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested the same three suspects for setting off apparent chemical bombs. The bombs appear to have been created by sealing volatile chemicals in plastic bottles with aluminum foil.
The crimes took place on Jan. 21, 22, 23 and 29 near a home bordering Elephant Rocks Golf Course. The home is outside of the Williams city limits in an unincorporated area of Coconino County.
The victim reported that on each of the four occasions, he heard as many as three loud explosions close to his house. On each occasion, deputies collected as many as three plastic bottles that were melted and partially destroyed, possibly as a result of a chemical reaction in the bottle and an explosion.
One of the investigating sheriff's deputies made contact with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about the investigation.
Sheriff's deputies then found out the WPD was investigating the egging incidents. A WPD officer told the sheriff's office he saw the three suspects in the area where the explosives were set off.
During interviews with sheriff's deputies, all three suspects made statements implicating them in the weapons misconduct and harassment crimes.