Paint ball shooting spree reported in South Lake Tahoe |

Paint ball shooting spree reported in South Lake Tahoe

Rob Bhatt

An unknown vandal or group of vandals is leaving a mark on South Lake Tahoe in what victims are considering to be a rather annoying way.

Since last Thursday, South Lake Tahoe police have received at least five reports of paint balls fired at motorists and businesses.

To date, the incidents have not resulted in injury or significant property damage, police reported. This is probably the only consolation for startled victims.

“I was scared,” said Susan Bhakta, co-owner and manager of the Elizabeth Lodge, which was pelted shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday. “I heard loud noises like the window breaking. It was like lightning – two, three strikes and it was gone. My windows were messed up with orange paint. I’m lucky my windows were not broken.”

The damage was reportedly wiped clean with window cleaner.

Earlier Saturday, a woman reported being hit in the head with a paint pellet as she traveled on U.S. Highway 50 near Silver Dollar Avenue.

A male victim on Thursday afternoon reported paint balls were fired at his vehicle as he drove in South Lake Tahoe’s Al Tahoe district.

The incidents have occurred across town – between the South “Y” intersection and the state line.

The paint balls are actually pellets containing a dye that leaves a stain upon impact.

Police do not know if all of the incidents have been perpetrated by the same suspect or suspects.

Under South Lake Tahoe city codes, paint ball guns are considered a dangerous weapon. It is a misdemeanor to fire these weapons in city limits, said Police Sgt. Rick Canale.

A person could additionally be charged with battery if a pellet struck a person or vandalism if a pellet resulted in property damage.

Due to difficulties in tracing the origins of the paint pellets after they are fired, Canale said police need tips from witnesses to identify suspects.

Anyone with information related to the crimes is asked to contact South Lake Tahoe police, 542-6100, or Lake Tahoe Secret Witness, 541-6800. Secret Witness offers cash rewards for anonymous tips leading to the arrest and conviction of crime suspects.

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