Wells hit in string of vandalism related acts overnight - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Wells hit in string of vandalism related acts overnight

John Thomas John Thomas
WELLS, TX (KTRE) -

The city of Wells has been without its own police force since January. Chief Jeff Klopp, the only officer, was fired in an overtime battle. Despite the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office handling emergencies, residents say there is still a huge void.

"You hear about something every day when you wake up and you know we can't have it. We have to try and figure out how to get law back here," said volunteer fire fighter John Thomas, who is running for City Council.

The latest case is the vandalism of City Hall overnight. According to Captain John Raffield with the Cherokee Sheriff's Office, someone tried breaking in the back of the building, but didn't have any luck. They did manage to get inside a police SUV by ripping the door handle off, apparently damaging some of the video equipment inside and spraying a water hose throughout the vehicle.

Just next door, the Lonestar Farm Supply office was ransacked. Raffield says a computer was taken and a fax machine was smashed.

Another target-- Wells Tire and Alternator Repair. Shattered windows on one customer's trailer left a big mess.

"We work hard to try to make a living and people that run around stealing stuff, it's not good for the city or business around here," said employee Nick Randall.

Few buildings downtown were left untouched. Even the video store had its window knocked out.

Leaving behind thousands of dollars in damage, Thomas says it was all avoidable.

"If somebody learns there's no law enforcement somewhere, things are bound to happen," said Thomas. "I'm to the point where I don't know whether I need to carry my shotgun around with me and start driving around town watching to protect, you know my neighbors."

With limited police protection, Thomas says it's only a matter of time until the town is hit again.

The Cherokee County Sheriff's department is investigating the related acts of vandalism. There are no known suspects at this time.

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