Crime

BB gun vandals leave streets of Tacoma strewn with broken glass

BB gun vandal shattering Tacoma vehicle windows

A vandal with a BB gun has been on a rampage shattering vehicle windows throughout Tacoma. Two residents who were affected share their feelings.
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A vandal with a BB gun has been on a rampage shattering vehicle windows throughout Tacoma. Two residents who were affected share their feelings.

BB gun-armed vandals have shot out dozens of car windows in Tacoma over the past several days, leaving residents frustrated and glass companies reporting business several times their normal volume.

“We’re booked, and we’ve got bookings on top of those bookings,” said Dan Teach, manager of Safelite AutoGlass on South Tacoma Way.

The calls started Friday. By Tuesday morning, Teach said he was booked for the next week replacing auto glass in the Tacoma area.

“It’s ridiculous here,” Teach said.

One of his customers was Dena Kuja, who had the driver’s side window of her 2001 Monte Carlo shot out Thanksgiving night.

Kuja parked her car in front of her home on North Narrows Drive, where she’s lived for 40 years. She had to wait until Tuesday to get her window fixed despite driving to Safelite on Friday.

“There were three people ahead of us with the same thing, getting their windows fixed,” she said. Safelite covered the window until mobile technician Jack Nelson could fix it Tuesday.

“It’s my time to (fix) all this. My money now. Christmas is coming up,” Kuja said. “I just don’t see the fun in it.”

The repair will cost her $283.

Nelson usually installs one to three side windows a week.

“Today, five out of my six jobs will be tempered (side windows),” Nelson said.

Reports on social media had broken car windows all over Tacoma.

Some, but not all, were using Tacoma Police Department’s online reporting system at tacomasafe.org.

Department spokeswoman Loretta Cool said that 37 verified instances of vandalism in which a BB was used to break a window were reported in the past week on the online system. A total of 68 “vandalism to vehicle” reports were taken. Not all were caused by BB guns, but most had broken windows, she said.

Police are investigating but have no suspects, Cool said.

The back window of Pat O’Neal’s 1984 Subaru had a small pellet hole in it Tuesday, surrounded by a spider web of broken glass.

“I just don’t understand why they do these things,” O’Neal said outside her home on North Seventh Street. “It makes you sad that they don’t recognize that this costs people money.”

She didn’t even want to open a door on her Subaru for fear the window would collapse.

Though her son was going to tape it up for her, the retiree will have to come up with the money to get it repaired.

A few feet away, her next door neighbor’s truck had two windows shot out.

That was the case with Art Tachell’s 1993 Ford pickup as well.

He had two windows shot outside his home at North 26th and Alder streets.

Three of his neighbors also had windows on their vehicles shot over two nights. His was Sunday night.

“I was afraid to park out there last night. Or tonight. Who knows?” Tachell said.

The repairs will cost him $500.

“That comes out of my pocket,” Tachell said.

Genuine Auto Glass on South Tacoma Way had one of its “craziest days” Monday, said manager Scott Eberly.

“We had to turn down at least 15 or 20 people because we didn’t have the room,” he said.

All of his customers were reporting the same thing: Vandalism with nothing stolen.

“There’s been money and purses on the seats,” Eberly said.

Briana Healy said she’s always felt safe at the house she’s lived in for 15 years at North Oakes and North 11th streets.

Until Monday morning.

That’s when she discovered the side window of her 2005 Subaru Outback shot out.

“It’s frightening to imagine anyone driving around with a gun of any kind shooting cars up,” she said.

Healy has kids, and she lets them walk to school.

“It’s making me question doing all those things,” she said.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

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