Suspect in NW Ind. BB shootings frustrated with life

May 20, 2011 6:50:45 AM PDT
A suspect was arrested Thursday morning in connection with a number of BB gun shootings in and around Valparaiso, Indiana.

Dennis Ditterline, 38, was taken into custody Thursday morning.

It cost $200 for Bob Peric to have the back window to his Dodge Caravan fixed, but the broken glass still remains in the Wal-Mart parking lot where the 57-year-old homeless disabled veteran's van was shot out with a BB gun.

It was a Monday at 9 a.m. when Perich says he was reaching to get something in the backseat and saw his window shatter.

"I thought it was a gunshot because I heard a loud explosion, and then the window shattered," said Perich.

At the time, Perich did not know the shots were BBs. He immediately called 9-1-1 and gave police a detailed description of the shooter's vehicle.

"I was able to get the license plate, and then I identified him on tape form Wal-Mart," said Perich.

Police say Wal-Mart surveillance tape caught Dittlerline on camera shooting Perich's car.

Police say video tracks Ditterline from the parking lot into the store, where the Valparaiso resident bought something using his credit card.

From that transaction, they were able to get his name from credit card," said Sgt. Michael Grennes.

Police say, with a name and address, they put Ditterline under surveillance for a few days until Wednesday night when he was caught.

"Last night he was seen leaving his residence...a short time later he began shooting at vehicles,' said Grennes.

Police say Ditterline admitted to dozens of BB gun shootings since February. There were so many that police say it was hard for him to remember them all.

Ditterline is an unemployed father.

"I thought it would be a younger person to do a prank like that, not an older person," said Gene Bota, Ditterline's neighbor.

Police say, in all, Ditterline is suspected in 75 shootings. Fortunately, no one was injured in any of those shootings.

Police say Ditterline said he did it because he is unemployed and is frustrated with life.

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