Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

FPF Neighbors ID Vandalism and Suspect… Justice Forthcoming?

Posted on Monday, August 25, 2008 by 5 comments

Wow… an early morning confrontation of one of Burlington’s vandals/taggers… with photos! Front Porch Forum members sticking up for their neighborhoods in Burlington’s Hill and Old North End areas…

First from Jeff on the FPF ONE East Neighborhood Forum (posted )…

A new type of vandalism is now occurring in the Old North End. I awoke yesterday, Sunday August 24, to find deep purposeful destructive gouges in the soft evaporator coil fins of one of my air conditioners. The protective screen was removed and discarded on the lawn. This air conditioner is located deep onto my property, way down the driveway, by my back entrance. The perpetrator was trespassing while committing this crime. The air conditioner’s efficiency is severely affected by the blockage to air flow and the destruction is so severe it cannot be repaired. The damage was not there Friday evening.

What makes this worse is that the same damage was done to 4 other homes in the immediate neighborhood. While driving in the Old North End, I saw similar damage to 2 others near the intersection of North Street and North Winooski Ave.

I took photos yesterday and today. Though they won’t transfer to the forum, I can forward them to any who are interested. Some air conditioners are damaged with initials
(P.H.) gouged into the fins. Others are intentionally severely gouged, so as to render them useless, together with initials gouged into the fins (A.X. and SBK).

This type of behavior is permanently destructive. These are expensive items which are damaged to varying degrees affecting their cooling function, and because of the manner
of the damage, in many cases, cannot be repaired.

This is not graffiti, where a chemical can be used to remove the “tag”. I estimate that the damage caused to these 7 air conditioners is over $1,000. Does this rise to the level of a felony?

What is happening to our city?

And also from a couple in the FPF South Union Neighborhood Forum area (posted

I want to let everyone know that Sunday morning at 6 am my husband and I woke up to the sound of someone pushing our window a/c unit in. After we yelled at the person to get away, thinking our apt was being broken into, we realized we had been tagged. (the metal grating on the back of the a/c unit was pushed spelling out ‘PH’) Immediately [my husband] got into his truck and drove around the neighborhood to find the guy who did it, with his camera in hand, we managed to get a photograph of the guy. He is 18-22 years old, white, brown hair, carries a red backpack and uses the Tag PH. [My husband] confronted him and asked him if he was a “writer” (a term used by graffiti artists and taggers to identify each other) and the guy responded in a rather incriminating way saying “No, dude, I don’t wri.. I mean I don’t know what you are talking about…” The guy seemed really antsy and nervous and that is when [my husband] photographed him. We did call the police, and an officer took down all of the information. I noticed he also tagged the post office drop box by Bite Me. If any one has any information about this person or sees him… please contact the Burlington Police. This is vandalism and destruction of private property.

Oh… and one more… from Jill also on the FPF South Union Neighborhood Forum (posted

Hi, On Sunday night at 2:30 there was an attempted break-in at my house. I had the front lights on, the back lights on dim and my car in the driveway, plus a few lights on downstairs (at least they are all compact fluorescents). They first tried the backdoor and propped the screen door open and the house was locked and then they started opening and cutting the side window screen. Moose (my now official guard dog) woke up and ran downstairs barking and I went downstairs and saw the motion lights were tripped and the window wedged open and screen cut. I called the cops and they were there in a matter of minutes.

Related to P.H. too?

Update: From Jeff on the FPF ONE East Neighborhood Forum (posted

A heads up on the progress in this case…

Together with the brave work of Clark, as described below, the Burlington Police Dept’s South End staff has joined with Lt. Jen Morrison from our North End area to identify the “PH” vandal and bring him to justice.

Officer Hemond, working with Officer Belleville from the South End, communicated with the Five Sisters FFP to apprise them of their progress. Seems 10 – 20 homes were similarly vandalized in that neighborhood.

Michael Wood-Lewis has been very helpful to me (and to the BPD) to coordinate, from the civilian side, forwarding of information between neighborhoods and BPD officers working on the case.

Gail Shampnois and Alicia Taylor from the UVM Office of Student & Community Relations are following this case and have indicated that if the offender is a UVM student then they will pass through the UVM justice system as well.

Posted in: Burlington, Citizen Journalism, Community Building, Front Porch Forum, Local Online, Neighborhood, Social Networking, Stories, Vermont


  1. […] together through Front Porch Forum to share news of a rash of property damage (looks like the police may have caught the vandal due to this vigilance).  And the next, it’s a lovely story from Huntington about neighbors […]

  2. Ofc Hemond says:

    Hello folks, this looks like a case where community action furthered a series of related cases. The PH tag is involved in at least three different cases, and the photo is a promising lead. Thanks for being involved, and we’re working on it.

  3. Sue Schein says:


    I think it would help me if I understood the currency of these incidents. Are they all on the same day or strung out over a week or more?

    Ie, datestamp, perhaps?



  4. Michael says:

    Good point Sue. I just added time/date info to each posting in the text above. It looks like the “PH” incidents occurred Sat. night/Sun. morning (Aug. 23-24)… but I defer to those reporting and the police.

  5. […] he goes on to shed some light on the story we discussed here.  And I just noted a comment left on the Free Press site by wordwhip99… The po po do the […]

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