BALLWIN, Mo. – Vandalism in West County covered garage doors, signs, and even a pick-up truck in Ballwin near Oakwood Farm Lane and Reinke Road.
The suspect is a 19-year-old who lives one block away.
“It’s the most frustrating thing. You get a wake-up call in the middle of the night. You come out and see what happened and you don’t really see the full extent of it until the sun comes up,” Chris Conway said.
Conway’s fence is one of about a dozen examples of spray-painted vandalism.
He added, “I kind of feel a little pressure to get it cleaned up if I can, being the first house in our neighborhood. It’s just really frustrating and then some added pressure being on the corner here.”
Throughout the Oakwood Farms subdivision, you’ll see garage doors spray-painted “Blood” or “Blood Gang.” Some neighbors tried cleaning up the spray paint, but you can still see the images. Even landscaping lights and street signs are tagged.
“I walked through the neighborhood and found multiple homes that were vandalized,” Delia Overschimdt said.
The took pictures, including a now cleaned-up example that says, “Death to America.”
“It kind of made me nervous, sometimes in the evening I walk my dogs, so am I going to be safe walking through my neighborhood?” Overschmidt said.
They learned the suspect lives in the neighborhood – just ten houses down from one of the homes he vandalized.
“That was news to me. I thought it was maybe something from the city, but obviously, this young man’s got some issues and I hope he gets help,” Overschmidt said.
Court records show Ballwin police caught up with 19-year-old Daniel James Fleming Jr. the night he was allegedly vandalizing homes. It was Tuesday, Sept. 21.
An officer said the suspect was riding a bike and carrying a backpack of spray paint. He’s now charged with felony property damage.
An officer wrote in a probable cause statement, “The defendant admitted that he had been spray painting in the area. He said he had done so because he was bored. He falsely told police he was 16-years-old and provided false names and a false address before admitting his true identity and address.”
Conway said, “It hurts to hear that it was someone from our own neighborhood.”
He took time off from work to try wiping away the memory of what happened, adding, “We take care of our neighborhood. A lot of great people who live here and take care of their place and just sad to see.”