Cops: Texas dad vandalized own truck with anti-police messages
A Central Texas man who claimed anti-police vandals had attacked the family pickup truck has been arrested after police believe he vandalized the truck.
Scott Lattin, a disabled veteran, told Whitney police on Sept. 8 someone tagged his truck with "Black Lives Matter" and other graffiti because he displayed pro-police messages and symbols on his pickup.
But on Friday afternoon, Whitney police arrested Lattin on a misdemeanor charge of making a false police report.
"Very disturbing," said Whitney Police Chief Chris Bentley.
Bentley said the investigation turned to Lattin because after FOX4 first broke the story.
"We had initial video when the officers took the report and then when we saw your story on Channel 4. When we looked at those two videos, there were some differences in those and that led us to take the investigation into a different direction,” Bentley said.
Bentley said when they took the report there was no damage to the inside of the truck. But when FOX4 showed up, Lattin showed that the glove box was ripped off and the seats slashed.
Lattin denies the charges by police that he vandalized his own vehicle, telling FOX4, "That's absolutely not true! Absolutely not true."
But Lattin's arrest warrant affidavit said Lattin admitted damaging the inside of his vehicle for insurance reasons.
Police say they're not looking for any additional suspects. More charges against Lattin, including felonies, could be filed.
"We have so many groups that have participated and come to Whitney, Texas of all places to help these people-- and for them to have been deceived? It's just wrong!” Bentley said.
Lattin's neighbor Levonda Bradshaw was suspicious from the very beginning, because they have a fenced in property with dogs that bark at everyone that comes near there.
Word began to spread quickly in the small town of about 2,000 residents of Lattin’s arrest.
"Oh this just makes me sick! This is just wrong,” said Marty Rosseau, Whitney resident.
A Lattin family relative started a Go Fund Me account to help pay for repairs to the truck. In addition, car dealers and body shops even offered to help.
The police chief is asking people to stop sending the family money. He's working with the district attorney's office to see how to handle the Go Fund Me account that raised nearly $6,000 and hopes to get the money back to duped donors.
One online post in particular bothers the chief.
"One of the social media pages said ‘My husband is an officer, I can give you $25 because that's all I can afford.’ That just ripped at my heart,” Bentley said.
In FOX4’s initial report Lattin's 18-year-old son Jason, who wanted to be a police officer, was interviewed. After his father's arrest, neither he nor his mother wanted to talk.