Man arrested for axing Keene police cars

- Police in the Johnson County town of Keene arrested a man who smashed up several police cars with an ax early Wednesday morning.

A lieutenant with the Keene Police Department says he's just grateful the ax didn't end up in the head of one of his officers.

Over the past week, police say the 31-year-old Jeassy Bobby Cruz committed a string of crimes. And in talking to his family, investigators believe Cruz may have been off medication he takes for some sort of mental illness.

Lieutenant Pat Jones says an officer driving past the police station around 2:30 a.m. actually saw the attack and radioed for back up. At the same time, another officer came outside because she heard loud noises coming from the parking lot.

Cruz had allegedly used his ax to break the windshields, emergency lights and damage the body of two marked units.

“Fortunately, the subject responded to verbal commands,” Jones said. “And officers were able to take him into custody without injury to himself or the officers.”

Investigators believe Cruz, who was armed with the ax, walked from his home just a mile away. Police say the incident marks the end of a bizarre crime spree that spans ten days.

“He was involved in a couple of thefts that occurred at some of our restaurants where he would order food and not pay for the food,” Jones explained.

Cruz was also cited for throwing a rock into a neighbor's windshield, who parked her minivan along the street.

“My neighbor told my grandma to close the garage,” recalled Juan Carlos Trejo, whose mom’s van was vandalized. “And then he had a rock, and he threw it on the van.”

Neighbors say they've never had a problem with Cruz before and are worried about his mental health after watching him shatter some of his own windows, spray paint the front of his house and hearing about the ax attack.

“I'm glad that wasn’t my head or another Keene officer's head or any other officer's head anywhere,” Jones said.

The police chief has asked a judge to order a mental health evaluation. Cruz was taken into custody and charged with criminal mischief. Additional charges could be filed. He is being held in the Johnson County Jail.

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