Windsor man, 53, arrested after windows broken at 13 businesses
A 53-year-old Windsor man is facing mischief charges in relation to a number of incidents where businesses in and around the downtown area had windows smashed.
Windsor police said the incidents happened between Nov. 23 and Dec. 29 last year at 13 businesses.
At the scenes, officers "found metal nuts scattered about on the ground near the shattered 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 is more than $12,600.
Police said officers "determined that the same suspect was responsible for all 13 incidents" by looking through surveillance footage.
The man was arrested on Feb. 16 and has been charged with 13 counts of mischief under $5,000.
Police did not identify which specific businesses were affected in these incidents, but several downtown establishments have spoken to CBC News in recent months about the frustration of having their windows broken.
The owner of Lefty's on the O, Jim Arbour, said last month that the glass at his business had been broken by someone throwing lug nuts.
Renaldo Agostino, councillor for the downtown area and a business owner himself, said he was glad to hear someone had been arrested.
"I've never seen this type of destruction [allegedly] caused by one single person using the same tools over and over again," he said.
"It was almost like there was a vendetta against small businesses."
Agostino said what unfolded during the investigation was an "experiment" in how technology can help solve crimes like this.
"The reason that this got resolved is because you had an incredible police force working at this, but you also had a really good security footage and really good business owners that all work together to capture this person," he said.
But he also said measures some have taken, like hiring security guards at night, are short-term solutions.
"I think it's got to be wrapped up into more than just putting a few security guards out on the street," he said.
"I think there's got to be a bigger plan and something more inclusive of support rather than just putting a few security guards out there on the block at nighttime."
Bar owner calls for supports
Tom Lucier, owner of 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 isn't going away because one man has been arrested.
"This is the thing that keeps getting overlooked: That guy was such an outlier," he said Tuesday.
"The people who are causing a lot of the vandalism, and it's very random, it's through manic episodes, mental health problems.… We totally miss the point when something like this comes out."
Lucier said the front window and door to the lounge were spray painted red earlier this week and he doesn't think policing or security are the answers to these problems.
"Police can't be there to prevent this stuff. There needs to be an actual wholesale buy-in to taking care of the people on the streets," he said.
"The fact that's not being done, it's just getting worse and worse."
He said some of the blame lies with people in power and the voters that put them there.
"We have not elected compassionate people."