San Luis Obispo police have a man in custody who they believe is responsible for a June 9 vandalism spree in which silver ball bearings were used as projectiles to smash windows at 11 San Luis Obispo businesses, causing about $20,000 in damage.
The same man is also suspected of shooting the balls through the front doors and windows of the Morro Bay Police Department headquarters as well as a patrol vehicle and another bank on Tuesday.
Joshua Ryan Meissner, 26, of Morro Bay, was arrested Tuesday following a traffic stop in San Luis Obispo where officers allegedly found wrist slingshots and about 100 ball bearings in his vehicle. He was taken into custody and booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of three felony counts of vandalism.
The San Luis Obispo Police Department said in a news release Wednesday that nine banks and two other businesses were damaged in the June 9 spree. Surveillance cameras at two of the businesses showed a white Ford Ranger pickup truck with a green camper shell at the scene.
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On July 1, that vehicle was spotted by a San Luis Obispo police officer who stopped the truck and identified Meissner as the driver and registered owner of the truck, according to the release.
However, without probable cause, the officer released Meissner at the scene.
At about 8:10 a.m. on July 7, according to the release, a white pickup matching the suspect vehicle stopped in front of the Morro Bay Police Department headquarters and shot multiple ball bearings through the front doors and windows before driving to the rear of the building and firing more projectiles at a vacant patrol car, causing damage to the frame and windshield.
At about 8:30 a.m., officers responded to the Chase Bank in the 500 block of Morro Bay Boulevard for reports of possible bullet holes in the front windows.
A witness reported the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle, which turned up registered to Meissner, according to the news release.
A warrant was obtained for Meissner’s arrest, and he was picked up Tuesday afternoon by a Cuesta College police officer near the area of Foothill and California boulevards.
San Luis Obispo Lt. Jeff Smith said Meissner did not reveal to officers any possible motive for the damage, but posts that appear to have been made by him on his Facebook page show several posts critical of police, banks and government.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Meissner remained in San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bail, according to jail logs.
A court hearing had not yet been scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon.