UPDATE: South Hills Neighbors Speak Out after String of Crimes

By: Rahel Solomon, Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Rahel Solomon, Jennifer Rizzi Email
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Meeting In South Hills Tuesday Night 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Shanda and her family live along a quiet street in South Hills. "I love the small town aspect of where we live. You just feel safe,"  she said.

But it's that feeling of safety causing people in the area to let their guard down. 

“People who feel comfortable because their community is typically safe, it makes them an easy target,” Charleston Police Lt. Steve Cooper said.alism, fake contractors, and even burglaries have hit homes in recent months, but police are stepping in to take the community back.

"We have charged a man with one of the burglaries in that area and we've also gotten his parole revoked, so we hope that will stem the tide of the break-ins,” Cooper said. "We have prosecuted some individuals who are responsible for these crimes and share some information that will help them deter or prevent crime themselves." 

They're also holding a community meeting to help ease the minds of families like Shanda's.

“Even with these incidents, I still feel safe in our community but I appreciate them making the efforts and having the meeting and trying to come up with some solutions,"  she said.

The meeting was scheduled at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, at St. Mathews Episcopal Church along Norwood Road.

UPDATE 8/20/13 @ 11 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Neighbors came out in droves Tuesday night after a string of crimes hit home in the South Hills area of Charleston.

“People are kind of alarmed, they don't know what to do,” said Councilwoman-at-large Mary Jean Davis.

In July, a teenager smashed through several car windows using a pellet gun, and in recent months five homes have been burglarized.

“Anytime your home is broken into, it creates angst and your piece of mind is shattered,” Police Chief Brent Webster said.

Tuesday night, police and neighbors had a meeting of the minds to talk problems, solutions and sound advice.

Police offered neighbors tips such as when on vacation, not letting newspapers pile up outside. Instead neighbors were advised to temporarily cancel subscriptions.

Police also warned about posting on social media about vacations, stating that lets others know the family is away from home.

Even after taking reasonable precautions, Webster said sometimes that’s not enough to deter criminals.

“If someone is committed, they're probably coming in,” Webster said.

David said that’s where having good neighbors helps.

“You need to be aware of who's in your neighborhood,” Davis said.

Tuesday afternoon, 18-year-old Clay Matheny was arrested in connection with shooting the car windows in South Hills. Police tell WSAZ.com he is charged with destruction of property.

A suspect has been identified in at least one burglary, but police say no arrests have been made.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 8/20/13 @ 2 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police have arrested a teenager after a rash of vehicle vandalism hit the South Hills area.

18-year-old Clay Matheny has been charged with destruction of property.

Police say Matheny shot out windows in more than ten cars using a pellet gun.

The vandalism was found in several neighborhoods, including Bridge Road, Smith Road, and Clark Road.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police are investigating after a rash of vehicle vandalism hit the South Hills area.

They're looking for the suspects who shot out windows in more than ten different cars using a pellet gun.

Police say the vandalism was found in several neighborhoods, including Bridge Road, Smith Road, and Clark Road.

An officer discovered some of the damage during a routine patrol, and more was reported the following morning.

"We've been handing out business cards asking anyone who may have information to forward it to us," Lt. Steve Cooper said. "These things happen from time to time unfortunately, and we're just trying to catch who did it."

Neighbors on Clark Road told WSAZ.com they're constantly guarded because the vandalism is no rare occurrence.

They say it happens so often that they didn't want to be identified for fear of being the next target.

"We see it at the beginning of school and at the end of school more," one neighbor said. "It's frustrating. You'd like to protect your property, and you'd like folks to respect your property."

If you have any information about the crime, you're asked to call Charleston Police.

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