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False assumptions lead to arrest in Neoga

8-23-2005 Illinois:
.NEOGA -- Some "mistaken" assumptions about his neighbor may have landed a Neoga man in jail for alleged assault and damage to the neighbor's property, according to police officials. At approximately 10 p.m. Sunday, Neoga officers were called to the 700 block of Cedar Avenue, where they arrested a man for allegedly attacking his neighbor's windows with a shovel handle, said Chief of Police Gerry Mattern.

The man, whose name has not been released pending formal charges, believed his neighbor was a convicted sex offender who had verbally threatened the man's daughter. "He was under the mistaken impression it was the guy next door," said Mattern. The neighbor had responded to the destruction of his windows by brandishing a three-inch pocket knife, Mattern said.

The incident began when the suspect's daughter returned home and said "there were some people in the residence next door who were drinking, and they made some comments to her," said the police chief. "She got scared." Mattern reported that the intoxicated people were merely visiting the neighbor's home, and did not live there. However, the girl's father thought the neighbor himself made the comments. "He started beating the windows out of the place," said Mattern.

The man with the shovel handle was taken to the Cumberland County Jail in Toledo. He faces possible charges of aggravated assault and criminal damage to property, said Mattern. The neighbor with the knife was not arrested, said the chief. ..more.. : by NATHANIEL WEST, Staff Writer

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