By ERWIN CHLANDA
The screening of the Banff Mountain Film Festival at Araluen last night was interrupted to inform the crowd that a large number of vehicles in the car park had been damaged.
Right: Auditorium, archival photo from Araluen Cultural Precinct site.
Araluen has declined to comment, but a movie goer says the cars had been “smashed” with what appeared to have been a heavy instrument.
She says a graffiti saying “Crips Bloods suck” had been spray painted in pink on one vehicle, a reference believed to be to a gang.
Car windows were smashed.
“We were in shock,” said the movie goer. “It was blatant vandalism.”
Police say they have arrested seven youths in relation to a number of incidents in Alice Springs overnight.
Two boys, aged 13 and 14, were arrested by an off-duty police officer after the officer witnessed one of them as the driver stall a vehicle at the intersection of Wills Terrace and Sturt Terrace around 9:30pm last night.
The pair were transported to the Alice Springs Watch House.
A further five youths, one male and four females aged between 11 and 15, were arrested by officers conducting proactive patrols along Larapinta Drive.
They are assisting police with their enquiries. One has since been released from police custody for consideration of youth diversion, police say.
The officers arrested the youth after witnessing one of them allegedly smashing a car window.
At this time, a total of 38 vehicles have been reported as sustaining criminal damage while parked at the car park on Larapinta Drive, says the police media release.
Police have released the following statement:
Officers from Operation Dawson have arrested five youth after a number of vehicles were damaged while parked in a Larapinta carpark last night.
The officers were conducting a proactive patrol of the area when one of them observed a male attempting to smash a car window just before 7pm.
On pulling into the carpark, police noted a group attempting to run from the area. After a short foot chase, five were apprehended and taken back to the watchhouse.
Two girls, aged 11 and 13-years-old have been released pending further enquiries, and three youths aged 12, 12 and 14 are assisting police with investigation.
Enquiries are being made as to whether there were any other co-offenders involved in this incident.
At this stage 38 vehicles received damaged with windows smashed or panels spray painted.
UPDATE MAY 19 at 4.47pm
Police released the following details: Officers from Operation Dawson have made another arrest in relation to the criminal damage of multiple vehicles in Alice Springs last week.
Charges have been laid against a 15-year-old female who is alleged to have caused damage to vehicles parked in a carpark on Larapinta Drive on Thursday night.
The youth has not made any application for bail and will appear in custody before the Alice Springs Local Youth Court on Monday, May 21 charged with one count of criminal damage covering 39 vehicles, one count of Trespass upon 11 vehicles and one count of Stealing from five vehicles.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Leith Phillips said police urge anyone whose vehicle was damaged in the event on Thursday night to contact them if they haven’t already.
“We are aware there may have been patrons who left before speaking with Police in regards to this incident,” he said.
“Officers from Operation Dawson will continue to investigate this incident and identify and locate further offenders.”
UPDATE MAY 21 at 8.14am
A police media release says officers from operation Dawson have arrested another youth.
The 14-year-old male and others are alleged to have damaged 39 vehicles on Larapinta Drive on Thursday, 18 May.
The youth is expected to be charged this afternoon with criminal damage, trespass and stealing and he will appear in the local court. Police will be opposing bail.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Leith Phillips said police are still asking for potential victims and witnesses who have not notified police to come forward.
“This is the seventh youth we have arrested in relation to this incident since Thursday however we are continuing with our efforts to locate any outstanding offenders.
“We would like to thank members of the public for their continued assistance,” he said.
Anyone with information is asked to notify police on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
By ERWIN CHLANDA