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Shop owner accused of shooting businesses with ball bearings

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Updated: 10/22/2013 2:24 pm
WEST MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Robert MacNeil was back at work in West Melbourne after bonding out of jail over the weekend.

Police arrested the 48-year-old alterations shop owner Friday. He is accused of terrorizing fellow business owners with ball bearings.

"The M.O. does appear to be hurling a device similar to (what's found in) a pinball machine, but bigger, through the plate glass of a store front," West Melbourne police Lt. Richard Cordeau said.

Police are investigating at least 65 incidents since last December.

Windows at businesses on Wickham Road and west New Haven Avenue such as a pawn shop and area dry cleaners were shot with silver ball bearings.

MacNeil is only facing charges in three of the incidents.

"We don't believe these acts are random," Cordeau said.

"So he's targeting?" WFTV Channel 9's Anthony DiLorenzo said.

"We believe them to be targeted, yes," Cordeau said.

After months of uncertainty and fear, the Palm Bay man was arrested Friday for soliciting arson, after detectives went undercover.

Reports said MacNeil pumped gas in an effort to burn down his former landlord's strip mall.

Anita Roberts' windows had also been blown out, months before.

"This has been ongoing for over a year and he thought he was untouchable and it didn't go down the way he wanted to," victim Anita Roberts said.

Video: WFTV Orlando
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