Herald Staff Writer
For two months, at random intervals between 3:30 and 5 a.m., a Wuchter Street man had his lawn and driveway sullied with garbage.
The culprit was finally caught around 5 a.m. July 12.
The first call came in May 16 and the trashings continued at different times, during the week and the weekends.
June 30, the victim called to inform police he had surveillance cameras installed and snagged footage of the suspect vehicle. The video showed a small, black SUV pull up and refuse flying out of the passenger window onto the victim’s front lawn and driveway. It went down Flickinger, turned east onto Wuchter Ave. and then went to 31st Street.
According to police, this was logged as a “check during patrols” matter and officers staked out the area for hours at a time, some officers held for overtime and put on Wuchter to try and catch the culprit.
Around 4:30 a.m. July 12, an officer hid his cruiser behind a wooden fence on Wuchter and, about 20 minutes later, saw headlights coming onto Wuchter from Flickinger. A small, black SUV drove by and the officer pulled out and drove up behind it, activating its overhead lights. The driver was Robert Hammond, 52 and he had a large amount of trash piled up on the passenger seat. Among the debris, officers found cigarette packs of an uncommon brand identical to some in new litter on the victim’s driveway. The victim that morning also had an egg salad sandwich and other food among his predawn gifts.
Confronted with the cigarette wrappers, Hammond admitted he threw the trash. He said a few months ago he was driving home and the victim was blocking the roadway and he had to wait several minutes for him to back into his driveway and it made him mad. The trash was his revenge and he told police he’d done it more than 10 times.
The prosecutor’s office approved a charge of criminal mischief. As Hammond works in Seville on the same shift as the officer handling the case, the summons was mailed.