A California Highway Patrol Vehicle.
A California Highway Patrol Vehicle. MyNewsLA.com photo by John Schreiber.

Another vehicle’s window was blown out Tuesday morning by BB or pellet gun fire in Riverside, with two more vehicles damaged in Orange County, sending the soaring vandalism tally this past month up to about 100 in the Southland.

No one has been injured in the spate of unsolved window-shattering attacks on the freeways in Riverside, Orange or Los Angeles counties, but the victim count keeps climbing and drivers are worried.

The most recent shooting happened just after 8 a.m. Tuesday on the westbound Riverside (91) Freeway Riverside, obliterating a window on the vehicle. Monday, there were four such incidents in Riverside and Corona on the freeway.

Two vehicles in Orange County were damaged Tuesday morning. One was hit about 7 a.m. on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway in Irvine, and another was fired on about an hour earlier on the southbound Costa Mesa (55) north of Fourth Street in Santa Ana, said California Highway Patrol Officer John DeMatteo.

In the Irvine shooting, the motorist did not call it in until about an hour later, so it’s unclear where exactly it happened, DeMatteo said.

CHP investigators have implored victims to call authorities right away because it can help locate where and when these cases are happening, using clues found by checking Caltrans cameras along the freeways. The CHP has boosted patrols on local freeways and may be a short distance away and have a better chance of capturing a potential suspect if the call is made right away.

In the past month — mainly in Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties — the CHP estimates there have been about 100 incidents of cars being damaged by BB or pellet gun fire. It is unclear how many perpetrators there are, whether some are copycats, and what types of cars they’re driving, though white sedans were spotted in attacks earlier this month in Corona.

No specific descriptions of the cars or suspects have been provided by the CHP.

“We are taking each of these incidents seriously and actively searching for those responsible,” CHP Border Division Assistant Chief Donald Goodbrand said last week. “The public should still feel safe while driving their vehicles on our California freeways.”

CHP Officer Florentino Olivera said one CHP officer’s cruiser recently sustained a damaged window on the eastbound 91 at the 241 Tollway in the Anaheim Hills that could possibly be part of the crime spree.

“An officer was finishing up an enforcement stop and completing notes on the citation when he heard a noise and the back window was shattered. There were big rigs going by at the same time,” so it might have been a rock that caused the damage, Olivera said. “We’re not sure what shattered the window.”

Anyone with information about the shootings was asked to call the CHP Border Division Investigative Services Unit at 714-288-6336.

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