Smashed windows reported in Aberdeen

Aberdeen Police Department officers are on patrol to try to stop a rash of vandalism to the storefronts of local businesses.

Fourteen active businesses in Aberdeen have had their windows broken since Friday, April 1, according to APD Lt. Steve Timmons.

“The areas of the broken windows have been directed primarily in the downtown area, but there were a couple of businesses in the west end of Aberdeen that also had windows broken,” Timmons said.

Those downtown broken windows — replaced with what looks like large plywood boards — aren’t hard to see. As of Tuesday, May 17, at least a couple of windows and glass doors on Broadway Avenue, between East Heron and East Market Streets, which is in the center of downtown Aberdeen.

Count Deen Dogs Gourmet Hot Dogs as one of the businesses affected. David Gleaves, owner of Deen Dogs, shared some details about when his business’ glass door was broken.

“You feel violated to a degree,” Gleaves said. “I was just lucky he didn’t come in and steal anything.”

Most of the incidents have been occurring late in the evening, or early morning hours, Timmons said in an email to The Daily World.

Deen Dogs was no exception. The glass door was busted in late Wednesday night, April 20, according to Gleaves.

Since the windows started being busted in, business owners have been left with the job of cleaning up the shattered glass, making calls to the police, and calling glass repair businesses, instead of their chosen profession.

And then, there’s the cost to replace the glass, which as Gleaves recalled, is expensive.

Gleaves said he would be “amazed,” if the cost to replace his window was less than $1,000.

Gleaves noted how the process included knocking out and clearing the rest of the broken window, measuring the frame for a wood replacement, and then coming back to replace the wood with the glass. After that, it took time to obtain the glass, and then there was the work to make sure the glass fit the frame properly.

Since the 14 police reports about the broken windows in downtown Aberdeen, APD officers have arrested Andrew Lapierre, 38, and Katlynn Neal, 19, both of Aberdeen. Lapierre, identified as a “transient,” was arrested on Thursday, April 21, and Neal, who has an address, was arrested on Thursday April 28.

“These arrests stemmed from different incidents and we do not believe they are related,” Timmons said.

Lapierre’s arrest was “largely in part” because of another business owner who was at his business late at night. After the incident, the business owner was able to then identify the suspect.

Gleaves said the night his glass door was broken, Pacific Northwest Printworks was working late when the glass door was broken.

“The print shop across the street heard the noise and came out, and took a picture of two guys walking away,” Gleaves said. “One guy made the comment, ‘I didn’t think I could punch that hard.’”

Gleaves said APD recognized Lapierre.

“We believe (Lapierre) is responsible for many of the other broken windows, but we have not been able to positively link him to those other cases at this time,” Timmons said.

A third person, who is also considered a person of interest in other cases, is in custody on unrelated charges.

“However, (he) will not be named due to an ongoing investigation,” Timmons said. “Since these arrests, the malicious mischief calls have decreased.”

Police officers have obtained video surveillance of the incidents, but even with video surveillance, it’s proven difficult for police to catch the people responsible.

“With masks and other clarity factors, it makes it difficult to positively identify the suspects,” Timmons said.

Despite those challenges, Timmons advised business owners ensure they have surveillance cameras inside and outside of their establishments.

“Surveillance cameras are always useful as they provide a description of the suspect, even if they have a mask on,” Timmons said. “We can compare video of the suspect to subjects officers come in contact with, who are out during the night, and can identify through clothing or other mannerisms.”

Timmons also advised business owners to report any suspicious behavior, whether it be at their own place of business or at another. Fortunately for Gleaves, Pacific Northwest already knew to do that.

“Sometimes, people do not report damage or vandalism to their business,” Timmons said. “We encourage people to report these occurrences so we are aware of where it is occurring and can direct our resources in those areas.”

In an effort to prevent the window breaks, Timmons said police have been “proactive” in the pursuit of apprehending the individuals responsible.

“Officers have been on bikes and also periodically on foot patrol when staffing allows,” Timmons said.

In addition to APD’s staffed officers, the Volunteer in Police Services officers have also patrolled the downtown area, Timmons said.

“They have been proactive in routine nighttime patrols assisting our patrol officers by acting as an extra set of eyes to report suspicious behavior downtown, or other areas throughout the city,” Timmons said.

The primary area for the VIPS is the downtown corridor, but they have also patrolled other areas of the city. They have been reporting the suspicious activity to the on-duty officers during the evening and early morning hours.

“(It’s because) our officers get pulled in many directions and can’t always maintain a consistent presence downtown,” Timmons said.

Gleaves, who received comments from people who were uncertain about his business, said he made sure to have his daughter post on Facebook that despite the broken window that Deen Dogs was still open.

“The downside is, you don’t know how (the broken door) affected the business,” Gleaves said. “I had a couple comments where they said ‘We didn’t think you were open, but then we pushed the door (open.)”

Gleaves said he put up a small “swooper” flags that says “open,” and velcroed it to the wood panel.

“That probably helped,” he said. “It’s hard to say how many people drove by, saw (the door) boarded up, and thought ‘Well, they’re not open.’”