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.