Marysville police are asking residents to help identify those responsible for vandalizing cars in the city, especially with the recent occurrence of more serious crimes.

Marysville police are asking residents to help identify those responsible for vandalizing cars in the city, especially with the recent occurrence of more serious crimes.

According to Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nichol, more than 20 tire-slashing incidents were reported on May 26. Those included the vandalism of about six Union County Sheriff's Office marked patrol cars, which were parked in an unsecured county parking lot on West 7th Street, adjacent to county office buildings. These latest incidents bring the total number of vehicles damaged to more than 75 in May, Nichol said.

Two cases of arson also occurred overnight on May 26, he said. A patrol officer found the first around 12:30 a.m., with a fire that was started at the rear of a business lot in the 700 block of East 4th Street near a stack of plastic pipe. The heat from the fire also damaged parts of a nearby van, mower and trailer, Nichol said.

"The second case of arson was the most serious case to date," he said.

In that incident, a semi-tractor parked in a vacant area off North Cherry Street was set on fire. The fire was discovered about 7 a.m. May 26, when employees reported to work, according to Nichol. Marysville fire investigators are assisting in the arson cases.

Nichol said the arson cases aren't necessarily connected to the cases of vehicle vandalism, but the police department isn't ruling it out.

"We just think that there is a possibility that they may be connected to the same sort of activity; a lot of this has been going on," Nichol said. "I can't say for sure yet, as this is early on in the investigation, and they may be unrelated."

Nichol said the police department must do a better job communicating to residents how important their help is in this situation.

"We're not getting it across to the community, I think, for people to call us immediately if they see something suspicious that might be related to this," Nichol said. "(Wednesday) morning we found out about the fire, and there were some witnesses that said 15 minutes earlier they saw three individuals running from the area. That was something we needed to know right away. I wonder if it is sometimes a case of people not wanting to get involved or are afraid to get involved, but we need to communicate to them."

Residents observing any unusual or suspicious people on foot or otherwise traversing in the area late at night are encouraged to call the police department at (937) 642-3900, or 911. Calls can be placed anonymously, Chief Floyd Golden has said.