HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) — Hollywood police arrested four young men, including two juveniles, for vandalizing a city police car and a city code enforcement vehicle one day last month.
Investigators said Johnathan Berroa, Zachary Novak and two juveniles were arrested on July 23rd for vandalizing the cars parked outside a Hollywood Police Department substation along N 69th Ave.
According to a police report, “The front windshield and rear window of the marked police unit had been shattered. Multiple dents were observed on the vehicle along with melted candy on the hood. A firecracker had been ignited on the hood of the vehicle.”
The report said the code enforcement vehicle also had its front windshield smashed out and it looked like someone had been jumping on the vehicle because of the number of footprints on it.
The total estimated damage to both cars is around $7,000.
Officer Christian Lata, spokesperson for the Hollywood Police Department, said the fact that the cars were parked outside of a substation makes the crime more brazen.
“We’re very happy to catch these guys because if someone is blatant enough to do that to a police vehicle in front of a substation, what are they gonna do to the community?” Lata said.
Police said Berroa posted videos to Instagram showing the cars being smashed up.
“It was pretty blatant that, ‘Hey, look at us. We’re gonna mess up these police cars and on top of that, we’re gonna show the world,’” Lata said.
Novak, 18, wanted to share his side of the story and answer our questions.
“Do you remember smashing in the windshields?” a reporter asked him.
“I don’t, honestly,” he replied.
“Do you remember setting off a firework on the police car?” a reporter inquired.
“No,” he said. “No fireworks on the police car.”
Novak admits he was there and admits walking on the police car. But he said he was intoxicated the night of the vandalism and doesn’t remember taking part in anything worse.
He feels the police went too far by charging him with a felony. But he told CBS4 that investigators informed him that if he was part of this activity in any way, he’s just as responsible.
“I know I screwed up,” Novak said. “I admit it. I won’t lie. Teenagers are going to make mistakes sometimes. Some people don’t think and I admit I didn’t think.”
Novak said he hopes to put this behind him, go back to school and get a job.
Police said the suspects are charged with criminal mischief.