PALM HARBOR — Authorities say a Palm Harbor man is responsible for an extensive vandalism case in the Deer Run subdivision in which numerous cars were targeted early Monday.
Ramsey Charles Sheard, 21, of 632 Deer Run N was charged with arson. Additional charges are forthcoming, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Sheard lives across the street from the Mooney family, which had one car covered in brown and white paint and some sort of accelerant poured on it, said homeowner Patsi Mooney.
Mooney said she was awakened by a knock on the door about 4:40 a.m. Sheard was at her door to tell her one of the family's cars, a 2004 Mazda, was on fire.
Mooney said she saw flames at the edge of her driveway and called 911. "Luckily, the car wasn't engulfed," she said.
When Pinellas deputies arrived, they found dozens of vehicles with slashed tires and another vehicle that had paint poured on it. By noon Monday, deputies had discovered 30 vehicles with damage, the Sheriff's Office said.
They also found an important clue: a trail of paint leading to Sheard's garage.
When detectives met Sheard, they found him with the same paint on his clothes, the Sheriff's Office said.
Sheard said he committed the vandalism after a night of drinking and taking Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, because he was "in a fit of rage over personal issues," deputies said.
Surveillance video from neighbors and evidence found at Sheard's home confirmed Sheard's story, according to the Sheriff's Office.
"What inspired him to come up to our door and tip us off, I don't know," said Mooney, 56.
It was her son's car that was vandalized. On the hood, written in paint, were the letters LSD.
Mooney said recently someone had spray-painted those letters on a neighborhood street and the sign at the community pool.
Paint is one thing, but fire is another, Mooney said.
"It escalated to a point where it's not funny," she said.
The subdivision is west of East Lake Road and south of Lake Tarpon.
"We've been here 22 years. It's a wonderful, safe little neighborhood," Mooney said.
"That's the worst part is, we don't have that same safe feeling."
Sheard does not have a criminal record in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
On Monday evening, he was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.