Damage from vandals’ shooting spree may top $250,000


By late Monday afternoon, at least 125 vehicle and business owners in the Anchorage area had filed complaints with police that their windows had been broken over the weekend.
The vandals who shattered windows all over Anchorage this weekend showed no mercy at the Allen & Petersen Cooking and Appliance Store in Midtown.

Nineteen of the store’s windows were damaged, leading to an estimated $190,000 repair bill, a store manager said Monday.

By late Monday afternoon, at least 125 vehicle and business owners in the Anchorage area had filed complaints with police that their windows had been broken over the weekend.

Anchorage police estimated the net property damage from the vandalism spree at well over $250,000. In vehicles, rear and side windows were targeted — they shatter more easily than front windows, police said.

The cost of replacing a broken side or rear window ranges from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars, depending on the kind of vehicle, according to one local repair firm.

“It’s a mess,” said police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker.

“Somebody knows who’s doing this,” he said.

The department is searching for witnesses and trying to connect the dots to crack the case. The attacks were clustered between Saturday night and Sunday morning, and the weapon likely was some kind of air gun — such as a BB or pellet gun, police said.

STORE HIT TWICE

The Allen & Petersen store was hit twice. An employee noticed one shattered window while driving by at about 11 p.m. Saturday. The store sent someone to clean it up. The vandals returned later, shattering two more windows and damaging 16 others by Sunday morning, according to the store.

“Unfortunately, we do have a traffic camera on our building but it’s been down for the last few weeks,” said Kyle Mirka, the store’s sales manager.

By Monday morning, local auto-glass repair shops were backed up with irate customers shelling out hundreds of dollars — or, in some cases, thousands of dollars — to get their windows fixed.

“I know people feel violated, and it’s costing them a lot of money,” said Debra Caudy, a manager at the Speedy Glass shop on Fifth Avenue.

She said 15 calls for repairs had come in before she arrived at work Monday morning — she usually gets a handful per morning — and she’d had to bring in an extra repairman.

“We’ve had to order a lot of glass from the Lower 48,” she said.

“The last time I saw something like this, it was due to a windstorm seven years ago,” she said.

SUVs TARGETED

Speedy Glass customer Bill Bittner said he got into his black Yukon SUV at 6 a.m. Sunday to spend some quiet time at the office. Then, he wondered, “Why is it so drafty in here?”

“They took out the back window,” Bittner said.

Bittner, an Anchorage attorney, said the vandals also attacked a car belonging to one of his neighbors. Neither of them heard gunshots, though Bittner said his neighbor hazily recalled the sound of tires squealing in the night.

Because so many people in town have been attacked, “I think the police and the district attorney should treat this as a major crime. It’s way beyond teenage vandalism,” Bittner said.

The primary targets were sport utility vehicles, though several businesses were hit, police said.

The reports of broken windows have come from the Jewel Lake/Sand Lake area, downtown, Midtown, East Anchorage, Muldoon and Eagle River, police said.

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