Windsor man, 53, arrested after windows smashed in 13 shops
A 53-year-old Windsor man has been charged in connection with a series of incidents in which windows were smashed by businesses in and around the city centre.
Windsor Police said the incidents happened at 13 businesses between November 23 and December 29 last year.
At the scene, “officers found metal nuts scattered on the ground near the broken windows, leading them to believe the fasteners were used to cause the damage,” police said in a news release issued Tuesday .
Police estimate the total cost of the damage at more than $12,600.
Police said officers “determined that the same suspect was responsible for all 13 incidents” by reviewing surveillance footage.
The man was arrested on February 16 and charged with 13 counts of mischief under $5,000.
Police have not determined which businesses were affected by these incidents, but several downtown establishments have spoken to CBC News in recent months about frustration at having their windows shattered.
Lefty’s on the O owner Jim Arbor said last month that the glass at his store was broken by someone throwing lug nuts.
Renaldo Agostino, the city councilor for downtown and himself a business owner, said he was glad to hear someone had been arrested.
“I have never seen such destruction [allegedly] caused by a single person using the same tools over and over again,” he said.
“It was almost as if there was a vendetta against small businesses.”
Agostino said what transpired during the investigation was an “experiment” in how technology could help solve such crimes.
“The reason this got resolved is because there was an incredible police force working on it, but they also had really good security footage and really good business owners all working together to catch that person,” he said.
But he also said measures some have taken, like hiring security guards at night, are short-term solutions.
“I think it has to be more than just sending a few security guards onto the streets,” he said.
“I think there needs to be a bigger plan and a little more support, rather than just putting a couple of security guards on the block at night.”
Bar owner calls for support
Tom Lucier, owner of the Phog Lounge, also had two windows broken in recent months. He said the repairs and replacement glass cost him about $2,000.
But he pointed out that the vandalism will not go away because one man has been arrested.
“It keeps getting overlooked: this guy was such a runaway,” he said on Tuesday.
“The people that cause a lot of the vandalism, and it’s very random, it’s through manic episodes, mental health issues … We’re completely missing the point where something like that comes out.”
Lucier said the front window and door to the lounge were painted red earlier this week and he doesn’t believe police or security are the answers to these problems.
“The police can’t be there to stop this stuff. There has to be a real consensus to take care of the people on the street,” he said.
“The fact that that’s not being done, it’s only going to get worse.”
He said part of the blame rests with those in power and the voters who got them there.
“We didn’t choose compassionate people.”