Eighteen windshields in 15 trash trucks were damaged.

Eighteen windshields in 15 trash trucks were damaged.

ROANOKE, VA - A vandal damaged Roanoke County trash trucks, smashing the windshields of 15 trucks and delaying trash collection for a day while vehicles were in repair.

The damage was discovered on Jan. 10. Damage was found on 18 windshields (there are two per vehicle), as well 22 mirrors, Kevin Glass, fleet manager for the County, said. Windshields were smashed with what appears to have been a baseball bat, a County release stated.

"This is a very unique windshield for this cab and chassis. There's just not a lot of these cab and chassis running around, and nobody's stocked them," he said. The County only had one in its inventory. His solution was to use windshields from other County equipment.

"Our chassis run from 2001-2011. The same windshield fit, left and right, from 2001 to 2011. I did a bit of research with our local vendor and found out it was interchangeable," Glass said.

Fleet staff took used windshields from other trucks that were damaged, ready for sale, or in the shop for extensive repair. To get vehicles in operation as soon as possible, staff also took undamaged windshields out of two vehicles to put into one vehicle that could be used the next day.

Twenty-two mirrors were damaged.

Twenty-two mirrors were damaged.

Glass said eight one-armed bandit trucks and two rear loaders were functioning the next day for regular trash collection. Meanwhile, fleet technicians waited for four more windshields to arrive from its glass vendor, Safelite Auto Glass, which was able to find some in North Carolina. The final glass replacements for the trash trucks were finished Jan. 18, and more are on order to replace the ones taken from vehicles being repaired.

Making vehicles fully operational was the first priority for the County's five fleet technicians, and Glass said they worked overtime to complete the glass replacements as well as normal repairs. Glass estimated damages to cost $8,500, which includes labor costs.

According to the County, this is the first time an incident like this has occurred. The trucks are kept behind a secure gate at Roanoke County's Public Service Center, and there was no sign of forced entry. The County operates 23 trash trucks, but the others parked in the same lot were undamaged. The incident is being investigated by the police department.

Roanoke County operates a fleet of more than 700 units.

By Thi Dao