Vandals shatter car windows in Independence neighborhoods, leaving dozens with a costly headache

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Shocked and angry, dozens of Independence residents woke up Tuesday morning to a costly mess. Police said 45 people filed reports, after finding their car windows were shattered overnight by vandals.

“It’s a big mess!” said victim Carol Wheeler. “It really is, it`s very, very, very frustrating!”

Most of the damage was done on the Southwest side of the city, from 35th and Blue Ridge Boulevard, to the Northwest side of the city, from 39th and Scott Avenue.

In response, officers stepped up patrols in those neighborhoods as they work to make arrests.

Investigators believe teenagers are likely responsible for the vandalism – using BB guns to shoot out car windows or battering the glass with a baseball bat.

“You know, this is ridiculous, to do this to people!” said 80-year-old Beverly Cornelison. “Any people, not just old people, but any person!”

William Gallagher agreed, “It is very frustrating. It`s sad. I don’t know, kids today, I don’t get it…”

It was an inconvenience that, for many, will be costly.

“It`s out of pocket, about $300,” Gallagher said of his window.

Curtis White said, “I`ve got to go file with my insurance and get a new window put in, so it`s not a good deal.”

Most quickly realized, even with insurance, they'd still have to pay up.

“Your deductible is too high on your insurance, that`s out of your pocket,” said Cornelison. “And like I said, we’re old, really old!”

It’s an expensive headache that insurance advisor Maria Butz can understand.

“Certainly, it`s a disturbance and you feel violated,” said Butz, who works at Crawford-Butz and Associates Insurance Agency.

Butz explained vandalism falls under an optional part of your policy called Comprehensive Coverage, where deductibles can range anywhere from $250-$1,000.

“A comprehensive claim is not going to have a direct impact on your personal premiums, most likely,” she said. “Again, that is subject to each carrier and each client that is involved in the incidents.”

“But what it does do, is it gets aggregated into some of these statistics for that geography, for that zip code, for those demographics, and over time, they’re going to look at that claims experience to see if that potentially could drive an increase in premiums.”

Butz recommends calling your insurance agent directly to review the specifics of your policy – something people in the Independence neighborhoods plan to make a priority.

“It`s costing us a lot of money,” Wheeler said, “a lot of work and a lot of time, and it`s just so frustrating! There’s no need to. I didn’t do anything to them!”

Butz said in addition to contacting your agent, it's important to file a police report and document the damage by taking photos.