Four youths charged with shooting spree

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Four teenage boys have been arrested in connection with the rash of vehicle vandalism throughout the Kalispell area early Sunday morning.

The four are being held in Flathead County Juvenile Detention on felony criminal mischief charges.

They are Shadeau Fritz, 16, of Kalispell; Maclean Ryder, 17, a Flathead County resident; Matthew Winchester, 14, of Kalispell; and Francisco Manzo Diaz, 17, a county resident.

They are believed to be responsible for using BB guns to shoot windows out of more than 100 vehicles across Kalispell between 4:30 and 7 a.m. Sunday. More than one window was shot in vehicles in some cases and some business windows also were targeted.

“Damage estimates are still being compiled, however the damage is expected to be well in excess of $20,000,” a Kalispell Police Department press release states.

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said his office received similar vandalism reports and his office is working with Kalispell police on the case. 

Kalispell Police initially had a vague description of there being possibly four perpetrators in a light-colored vehicle with a loud muffler. 

Officers immediately canvassed businesses to view surveillance video. The cooperation of several businesses provided a better description of the suspect vehicle.

On Sunday evening, officers received a tip about possible suspects. As they were following up on the tip, officers were dispatched at 1:55 a.m. Monday to suspicious activity in the area of 55 First Ave. W. N. in Kalispell.

There, they found a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle occupied by two teenagers. Both were taken to the police department and interviewed. At the conclusion of the interviews, both were arrested for felony criminal mischief.

The investigation continued, leading to two more teenage boys being charged with felony criminal mischief.

The crime spree was spread out across the city, with Third Avenue East, Third Street West, First Avenue East North and Fourth Street West among the locations where multiple vehicle windows were shot out.

In the sheriff’s jurisdiction, there were six vehicles with similar damage on Conrad Drive.

Because of the high number of victims, officers left business cards on some damaged vehicles that were located Sunday morning. The press release says the case will take a substantial amount of time to conclude because there were so many victims.

Calls for window repairs started coming in early Monday to the Safelite Auto Glass store, manager Bill Quinn said.

“Yeah, we’ve seen probably six or eight today so far,” Quinn said Monday morning. “Most of it will come in overnight and we’ll be hearing more of them tomorrow ... We’ll be getting business. It’s not the way I like to get business, but we take what we get.”

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