An investigation into repeated vandalism to a town woman’s car ended Monday morning when police surveillance caught the vandal in the act, police said.
Police arrested John R. Carmichael, 35, Rotterdam, charging him with damaging the victim’s vehicle on six separate occasions.
Police and state officials confirmed Monday that Carmichael works for the state as a corrections officer and is now suspended without pay.
If convicted of one of the top counts against him, second-degree criminal mischief, Carmichael would face possible state prison time.
Police began investigating the vandalism in mid-February when they received a complaint from a Ferguson Street resident who reported damage to her vehicle on multiple occasions since December.
Carmichael is accused of using a box cutter to repeatedly scratch paint on the vehicle, cause window damage and slash a tire, police said.
Police estimated the total damage at $7,000, though numbers cited in court paperwork add up to more. Two incidents of paint damage averaged $4,000 each, according to paperwork. Police estimated three others at about $2,000 each.
Police spokesman Lt. Michael Brown confirmed police believe Carmichael targeted the woman. He called them acquaintances, but declined to characterize Carmichael’s alleged motives further.
Carmichael, however, soon became a suspect and police set up electronic and physical surveillance on the victim’s residence. The surveillance included cameras and officers, Brown said.
The cameras caught Carmichael on a couple of occasions. Then, Monday morning at about 2:30, police put two officers outside the residence and caught Carmichael in the act, using a box cutter to damage the woman’s vehicle, Brown said.
“He walked up to the vehicle, did the damage and we tried to apprehend him,” Brown said.
Carmichael allegedly fled in the direction of his residence. Police caught up with him about a mile from the scene.
Brown said the case is unusual in that the suspect kept returning to the crime scene.
“In this case, it just continued to happen,” Brown said. “That’s why we set up the video surveillance and ultimately placed officers there when we felt it might happen and it did.”
Carmichael faces five counts of second-degree criminal mischief, felonies, along with misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief and resisting arrest.
Carmichael was arraigned and ordered held on $10,000 bail.
State police and the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision assisted.
According to the state, Carmichael has been a corrections officer since July 2014.
Carmichael is due back in court Thursday. Town Court had no attorney listed for him Monday.