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Cars vandalized in Great Smoky Mountains, investigators search for suspects

(WVLT)
Published: Sep. 19, 2017 at 10:54 PM EDT
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Investigators with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are investigating a string of car vandalism that happened overnight into Sunday morning.

Park Ranger Dana Sohen said the vandals heavily damaged five cars in three different trail head parking lots. Sohen said the incidents happened while hikers were traveling through the back country.

"They were so severely damaged four of them had to be towed, they were not driveable," said Sohen.

One occurred at the New Found Gap parking lot, the others at Thomas Divide and Kanati Fork Trail Head, according to Sohen. All of the vehicles had similar damage with both the front and back windows smashed in. Sohen said it appeared nothing had been stolen.

News of the vandalism made visitors more cautious while hiking. Steve Mills and his family said they have been coming to the Smoky Mountains for 20 years and the vandalism was unsettling.

"This is a wonderful place, we come here once or twice a year and we love it," said Mills. "I just hate to see something like that."

Sohen said the park is investigating and there are no suspects. Local 8 News asked if there are cameras at the affected trail heads but rangers said they do not have that information.