• Sheriff: 'Joker' vandalized deputy's patrol car, left note on front door


    POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said a man who called himself 'The Joker' has been arrested after vandalizing a deputy's patrol car.

    Matthew Lash, 22, is facing multiple charges, including burglary and several counts of criminal mischief.

    According to officials, Lash threw pieces of concrete at a deputy's patrol car, smashing the window early Tuesday morning. He also allegedly stole a flashlight from the patrol car, before smashing a window of the deputy's personal vehicle. Investigators said Lash then left a note of the deputy's front door that read: "The Joker is here! Jokes on you, (expletive). (Expletive)!"

    "We take it very seriously when someone specifically targets a law enforcement officer at his home or at work," Sheriff Grady Judd said.

    Deputies said Lash was not caught until after a second incident that happened Friday.

    Early Friday morning, a man who lives in the same neighborhood as the deputy called 911 to report someone trying to break into his home.

    "He had like a large rock from a planter, probably about this big, and he hurled it," victim Lee Pennington said.

    The suspect, later identified as Lash, threw a rock through Pennington's sliding glass door, deputies said.

    "I thought somebody ran in the house or it was a big gunshot, one or the other. It was loud," Pennington said

    Lash had also allegedly smashed the window of the deputy's patrol car for a second time.

    When authorities got on scene, Lash was found outside his home on Arrowhead Road carrying a BB gun rifle and acting erratically, according to officials. He was eventually taken into custody and transported to the Polk County jail.

    "We don’t take it as a joke and we will make sure 'The Joker' is held accountable for his actions," Judd said.

    Sheriff's office officials said Lash caused nearly $6,000 in damage.

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