CHICAGO — The vandal who has been bizarrely tormenting Bridgeport residents by leaving watermelon (and poop, possibly) on neighborhood cars struck again this weekend.
The vandal has been leaving hunks of watermelon and “huge gobs of spit” on cars near 31st and Aberdeen streets for at least three years, said frequent victim Tom Wielgate.
The vandal went around the area again on Saturday morning, leaving watermelon rinds and Little Caesar’s pizza boxes on the windshields and side mirrors of at least four cars.
Wielgate thinks the vandal is the same man who’s recently taken to smearing poop — either human or dog — on homes and cars nearby.
“It has to be the same guy. Who else would do something like this? It definitely has to be the same guy,” Wielgate said last week. “He owes a lot of car washes to a lot of people, I can tell you that much.”
The pizza boxes are a new touch, and the man seems to be targeting different cars than he did in the past, Wielgate said this weekend.
Neighbors have said the man broke parts of their cars while leaving the watermelon in the past; one victim said she’d been away from her car for three days and, when she came back, found watermelon on her antenna and juices had dripped down and dried, Wielgate said. She had the car’s exterior buffed to remove the damage.
Lettuce and orange peels were left on another neighbor’s car, Wielgate said.
The vandalism confused residents like Wielgate because the acts seemed so random and, frankly, left them curious.
“I’m wondering, where is he getting all this watermelon from?” Wielgate said. “We thought maybe he worked for a buffet or something.”
Wielgate set up security cameras and they’ve captured video and photos of the man, who wears a hat and surgical mask. Wielgate also has sat out secretly watching for the man only to miss him by minutes on a few occasions.
Watch a video of the watermelon vandal:
Wielgate thought the vandal had been caught or had given up because no watermelon was left all winter. But then, just last month, oil mixed with sand was left on Wielgate’s car. He had to get the car detailed.
And two weeks ago, Wielgate saw hunks of watermelon on a car near 31st and Aberdeen streets. That was surprising, Wielgate said, because his own car hadn’t been targeted and “usually [the vandal’s] got his routine” of targeting the same vehicles.
“It’s like he doesn’t stop,” Wielgate said.
Wielgate and others have reported the incidents to police in the past, but he hasn’t done so recently because nothing has been done.
But Wielgate contacted Block Club Chicago about the watermelon-wielding vandal after reading about how a man is smearing feces, either dog or human, on homes and car door handles in Bridgeport.
Tony Wu, who had poop smeared on his car door handle, has been talking with neighbors and found out there have been at least 15 such incidents in the area over the last month and a half.
Watch a video of the poop vandal:
At least one of those victims has been targeted repeatedly, with the vandal wiping feces on that family’s door three times, Wu said.
Wu’s neighbors have contacted police about the poop vandal, but officers said they had no new leads earlier this month.
And despite getting video of the poop vandal, Wu hasn’t had any luck figuring out who the man is or why and how he’s carrying out his acts of vandalism.
“There’s no way he just has feces laying around to smear on people’s cars,” Wu said. “He has to be collecting it somehow.”
Wielgate thinks the vandals are one and the same because of their striking similarities: The poop and watermelon incidents have happened in Bridgeport and the vandal wears a mask.
The acts of vandalism also occur early in the morning in both instances: The poop vandal typically strikes from 3-5 a.m., Wu said, while Wielgate’s watermelon vandal used to hit from 6-7 a.m. but is now targeting cars 5-6 a.m.
Wielgate said if he ever did spot the vandal, he’d follow him home and contact police so they knew where to get the man.
“Hopefully one day, one day they’re gonna catch him,” Wielgate said. “Someone’s gotta catch him sooner or later.
“This has gotta end some time. He’s doing too much weird stuff.”
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