Suspected vandal targeted Polk deputy, sheriff's office say - FOX 13 News

Suspected vandal targeted Polk deputy, sheriff's office say

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He called himself the joker and targeted his "mayhem" on a Polk County Sheriff deputy who lives in his neighborhood.

Matthew Lash, 22, is in a Polk County jail after a bit of a crime spree.

Investigators say it started early Tuesday morning in Lakeland when Lash apparently took a concrete block to a cruiser in the Lakeland Highlands neighborhood.

The rear drivers side window was shattered, the front drivers side window was completely broken out and a flashlight was stolen.

He also broke out the windows of the deputy's personal pick up truck.

But he didn't stop there.

Early Friday morning investigators say Lash returned to the scene of the crime, this time striking the home of the deputy's next door neighbor.

"He heard fiddling with his sliding glass door, he went to investigate that and heard a crash in his living room," said Polk County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Scott Wilder.

Investigators say that crash was a rock that shattered that sliding glass door.

They say he also went back to the deputies house and smashed out the drivers side window of a second crusier the deputy was given while his original car was being fixed.

That is when Lash is said to have left his "calling card."

"We found on the front door of his house a note from the 'joker' and it was basically a threatening note using foul language," said WIlder.

Part of the note read "the joker is here," a reference to the villain from the Batman franchise.

Lash was arrested Friday after a confrontation with deputies. It's said he was armed first with a BB gun rifle and then a box cutter.

Luckily, no one was injured.

Deputies say Lash admitted to the crimes and blamed it on a bout with alcoholism.

No matter the reason, they say they take this sort of thing very serious.

"Not that it's unimportant if somebody else's car gets broken into but when somebody targets a public officer, a law enforcement officer, we have to investigate that quickly and solve it quickly because if he can hurt a law enforcement officer he can hurt someone else too," said Wilder.

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