Vineland residents describe a night of ‘wanton’ vandalism as car windows reportedly smashed

·4 min read

Residents across Vineland have described a night of chaos after car windows across the town were reportedly smashed by large rocks.

Niagara Regional Police are searching for a suspect who was believed to have been shirtless.

One couple living in Vineland Station, who didn’t want to be named, said they had their car window smashed at around 5 a.m. on the morning of June 28.

According to the wife's account, she was sitting inside when she saw the car pull up and a tall, slim, “not terribly muscular” man get out, shirtless. She told her husband, who didn’t believe her at first. But then they both heard the “bang” as the stone went through the car window. They estimate that the stone weighed around 17 pounds.

Further down the street, a resident reportedly managed to catch the car on his outdoor cameras. The footage allegedly showed the car pulling up at speed and braking so suddenly that the car rocked back around three times. The opposite neighbours’ car then had a rock thrown through the window, according to the report.

Unfortunately, the footage was too blurry to capture any details.

Another neighbour, who again wanted to remain anonymous, said he heard a loud noise at around 5 a.m. but thought it was the slamming of a door. He only realized what had happened later.

He doesn’t have any confidence that the police will be able to catch the suspect, saying that the night of “wanton” destruction was all for nothing. Residents are worried that their insurance premiums might go up.

The spree wasn’t just localized in Vineland Station, though. Five kilometres away, on Magnolia Drive in Vineland, around seven car windows were reportedly smashed. Affected residents awoke to find their windows smashed and large rocks in their cars, according to reports.

Heather Fowler-Schlett, who lives on Magnolia Drive in Vineland, said she had her car window smashed by a large rock, yet nothing was taken from the vehicle. None of the residents that Niagara this Week interviewed had anything taken.

She believes that her window was smashed at just after 2 a.m.

“It’s unsettling because this is such a safe neighbourhood,” she said. “Nothing ever happens here.”

However, she paid tribute to her neighbours, who came together to help each other afterwards.

“It’s a testament to the good people of the neighbourhood,” she said.

Other residents on Magnolia Drive also described their surprise at the incident, given that it’s such a “quiet neighbourhood,” according to resident Chris Diamond. “It’s quite a surprise,” he said.

In total, Niagara Regional Police said that they were called to 16 incidents in Vineland across six different streets, which took place between 2 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. They expected that the cumulative damage was in excess of $20,000.

In one incident, the suspect allegedly threw a large rock weighing around 60 pounds through a window of a residence.

On June 30, police issued a release noting detectives were investigating 18 similar incidents that took place in other municipalities: four in St. Catharines in the areas of Martindale Road, Chartwell Court and Seventh Street; one on Four Mile Creek Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake; four in Thorold on Juneberry Road, Keefer Road, Hawthorn Avenue and Kenny Court; six in Niagara Falls on Northwood Drive, Oakridge Drive and Cardinal Drive; and three in Pelham on Buckley Trail, Lookout Street and Timmsdale Crescent.

The incidents, which police believe happened in the early hours of June 30, features the same nature of damage — large rocks reportedly being thrown through parked car windows. The damage from those incidents is estimated to be in excess of $20,000.

Police released a description of the suspect based on two witness statements from the June 28 incidents: a shirtless white male, approximately six feet tall, wearing dark pants and a dark baseball hat and driving a small, dark-coloured (possibly silver or grey) car similar to a Honda Civic.

Detectives are asking anyone with information about these incidents, including security footage or doorbell video cameras, to contact them at 905-688-4111, option 3, extension 1022200.

Anyone who wishes to provide information anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers of Niagara online or by calling 1-800-222-8477. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards to persons who contact the program with information which leads to an arrest.

Chris Pickles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News

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