Downtown Athens vandalism spree caused damages valued at over $3,000


Kevin Joseph Bennett

By Joe Johnson

A man’s alleged vandalism spree in downtown Athens caused more than $3,000 in damages, according to Athens-Clarke County police incident reports.

Kevin Joseph Bennett, 33, allegedly used rocks to break glass doors and windows at businesses primarily in the area of East Washington Street, including two law firms, The Georgian condominium building – where flower posts also were broken – South Kitchen + Bar, Rent Athens, and also the front and side door of First American Bank & Trust’s corporate office on College Avenue.

He also allegedly heavily damaged two cars by breaking their windows and denting all body panels, according to reports.

The total estimated cost of the damage was $3,300.

Police learned of the vandalism spree at about 4 a.m. Tuesday when officers were approached by a man in the area of North Jackson and East Clayton streets who told them about a white male who was throwing rocks through the windows of businesses and vehicles.

Officers saw a man, later identified as Bennett, who took off running on East Hancock Street upon seeing police cars, according to reports.

After he reportedly jumped a fence into a parking lot on North Jackson, Officer Seth Jones drove his car into the lot and ordered Bennett to get on the ground.

Bennett did not comply with the order so the officer pushed him onto the ground, where he was able to gain control of the suspect and place him in handcuffs, according to reports.

Bennett was booked into the Clarke County Jail on multiple counts of criminal damage and a count of obstruction of law enforcement.

Additionally, holds were placed on Bennett's release by the Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons for a probation violation stemming from a burglary conviction, and by the Elbert County Sheriff's Office on an aggravated battery charge, according to the local jail's website.

Anyone who witnessed the incident, or needs to report additional damage is asked to contact Property Crimes Unit Sgt. Jody Thomson at (762) 400-7103 or jody.thompson@accgov.com.

Thompson said he had not been notified about additional damage as of early Wednesday afternoon.

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