Police in Seneca County are searching for the person or persons who caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage to a number of vehicles at a Seneca Falls auto dealership. Authorities don't believe this was a random act.
Bill Cram Chevrolet recently opened a brand new showroom on Routes 5 and 20 in Seneca Falls. It's a 43-year-old family business founded by Bill Cram and now operated by his daughter Amy. Her son, Tim Ritter, is also part of the dealership.
"This is a great community that we live in. We support 45 families with this business and we've just built a brand new dealership. Things like this doesn't go on in our community," said Amy.
What Amy says doesn't happen very often is someone causing between $50,000 and $75,000 worth of damage to more than 50 vehicles on the outdoor lot. It's believed it happened sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
"I was surprised at how many vehicles were damaged and the extent, cost associated, and specifically how they damaged each individual vehicle," said Chief Stu Peenstra of the Seneca Falls Police Department.
Police in Seneca Falls say the damaged caused at Bill Cram is something they don't see very often in this community, and they believe the perpetrator or perpetrators were targeting this dealership.
The damage was discovered Monday morning when the dealership opened for business. Targeted vehicles are both new and used. The person or persons responsible used a sharp instrument causing deep scratches.
"From what we can tell the individual came in, did as much damage as he could to each vehicle, damaging doors, quarter-panels and things of that nature, trying to create as much damage in a short period of time," Peenstra said.
All the vehicles will be repaired in the dealership's auto finishing facility. Sales associates will have to disclose to potential new car buyers whether or not the vehicle was damaged.
Amy says she isn't letting the vandalism get her down. She's grateful that nobody was hurt.
"It's just metal that's damaged and trying to take a positive and not let it beat you down. This isn't going to stop us. If they want to stop us from selling vehicles, we're going to keep going."
The dealership is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
"We just that we needed to have some justice and maybe this would motivate if someone found out who this individual, if someone talks about, what they did, whether it was maliciously, intentionally or just a random act, we felt we needed to issue a reward," Cram said.
Authorities say suspects face second degree criminal mischief charges; a class D felony.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Seneca Falls Police Department or Seneca County 911.