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Teens arrested in connection with vandalism spree in Billings

Posted at 11:31 AM, Feb 01, 2024

UPDATE - suspect charged - click here.

Two teenagers have been arrested following what police have described as a "mass vandalism" spree in Billings.

The suspects - identified as 18-year-old Gabriel Lamb and a 17-year-old boy - were arrested on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, and face possible felony charges, police said in a news release on Thursday.

Lamb is being held in the Yellowstone County Detention Center and has yet to appear in court. The 17-year-old was remanded to Youth Services.

Police said the vandalism spree was reported on Saturday when the department began receiving numerous reports of vehicle windows shot out with BB guns overnight in the central part of the city.

Over the next few days, officers continued to take reports of similar damaged property and as of Wednesday the total number of cases had reached 95, police said.

(JANUARY 28, 2024) Early Saturday morning, there were more than 50 vehicle windows shot out by a BB gun, according to the Billings Police Department.

The majority of the cases were reported between the 100 block and 1500 block of Terry Avenue. So far, there have been no suspects named in the case.

Police are calling the event a mass vandalism because of the multitude of residents affected. Taya Nelson is among those living on Terry Avenue who discovered that her window was shattered Saturday morning when she left her home to head to work.

"I was shocked, honestly," Nelson said Sunday morning. "People just don't care about anybody. It's very disappointing."

Billings residents react to mass vandalism

Nelson's window was destroyed and her husband Jeffrey's windshield had several BB bullet holes in it as well.

"It's really disgusting honestly," Nelson said. "People are barely getting by right now and to add this to their plate is really upsetting."

Jeffrey said it's hard to see Billings have more crimes like these.

"I was born and raised here and lived here my whole life," Jeffrey said. "It's just sad to see the town and the way it's turning into and what's been happening with it."

Just a couple houses down, Rollie Strand's back driver's side window was also destroyed, leaving him wondering what the motive was.

Billings residents react to mass vandalism

"It kind of makes you scratch your head all over again when you think about it," Strand said. "Like why? Really, why?"

Strand was still working on cleaning the shattered glass out of his back seat, but said he was doing his best to stay positive.

"I had to roll with it with a positive attitude," Strand said. "I just had to, but there was that, no way. Okay. Crappy people are out and about."

Strand said that he was very surprised by the number of cars that were affected.

"I was shocked at that part," Strand said. "I thought a couple vehicles here or there, but hearing that number, that's a little extreme. That's a lot of damages."

Police said they are looking into the incident, however the Nelsons said no one on Terry Avenue captured any video, which means ultimately they aren't expecting a happy ending to the investigation.

"Police are going to do their investigation, but there's only so much they can do," Taya said. "It's probably going to happen again and that's the worst part."