Samuel Heimenberg, a 55-year-old local resident, and a carpenter who recently opened Heimenberg Plumbing on Mercury Drive, became the latest victim in a spate of recent vandalistic crimes. Upon leaving his home in Robinson Township for work yesterday, Heimenberg was shocked to find all the windows of his car covered with a smooth and creamy substance, which County Lab Technicians later identified as ranch dressing (but lacking the sophisticated equipment necessary to determine whether the dressing was Kraft or Hidden Valley, samples have been sent to a State facility in Lansing for further analysis). Although not available for comment, the Heimenberg family has issued a statement asking the public and the media to respect their privacy, and allow them time and space to deal with the emotional trauma of yesterday’s events.
The County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed to the Times that Mr. Heimenberg is not the first victim of this malicious crime. County Investigators have been investigating a string of more than a dozen similar crimes occurring over the last month. No arrests have yet been made, but according to Bernard VanderFifen, a County Deputy involved in the investigation who wishes to remain anonymous, law enforcement officials believe these crimes to be the work of a local Middle-School gang known as ‘The Croutonix’. The Croutonix, however, have always used a chunkier, blue-cheese dressing in their nighttime raids.
VanderFifen admits this has created confusion and deep division within the Investigative Team, as they argue internally over the question of whether the ranch-based vandalism of Mr. Heimenberg’s car represents the work of a new, copy-cat gang, or whether the Croutonix are branching out beyond blue-cheese dressing. “I sure hope it’s not a new gang”, said VanderFifen in an off-the-record comment, “But on the other hand, if the Croutonix start using other condiments, particularly something heavier like pickle relish, things could get real ugly around here.”
When asked why no arrests have been made, if in fact authorities have identified the perpetrators, the Sheriff’s Department had no official comment, but according to a Times’ confidential source, investigators were dealt a setback when a local Deputy attempted to infiltrate the Croutonix gang in an undercover operation. After gathering evidence in the Middle-School for weeks, his cover-story was blown while showering in the Boys’ locker room after a gym class. Local Prosecutors determined that any evidence collected would likely be inadmissible in court.
While working to compile the evidence needed to make arrests, local authorities hope this situation doesn’t escalate, but in a statement released this afternoon by the Sheriff’s Department, local residents are being urged to leave unattended cars in a closed, locked garage whenever possible. Additionally, according to the statement, “The Sheriff’s Department is urging parents, especially those with middle-school-aged children in the house, to keep track of the salad dressing in their cupboards and refrigerators, and to make sure it is only used on salads, as intended. We can’t monitor all the salad dressing in an entire county without the help of our citizenry.”
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