Uncomfortably cold and windswept rain kept many New Year's Eve revelers indoors after their midnight celebrations. But, what appears to have been a band of vandals started sweeping through Sellwood, wreaking havoc, a short time later, in the 2 a.m. hour on January 1.
"After I'd gone to bed, at about 2 a.m. someone smashed the windows in our van," said Steve Overton of the Portland Puppet Museum, located near the corner of S.E. 9th Avenue and Umatilla Street. "When we saw the damage that morning and called it in, a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) came to investigate, and said he was looking into many calls.
"The officer pointed out that the vandal hit the driver's side back window, first denting the frame, before breaking it," Overton told THE BEE. "Then, the person stood a ways back the vehicle, and launched an object through the back window of the van, kind of like a javelin throw."
The officer pointed out that the object doing the damage, now lodged behind the front passenger's seat, was a heavy brass telescope. The officer took it for evidence.
North of Tacoma Street, there were several other acts of vandalism.
Santa slashed, decorations broken
The bright and colorful Holiday display at the home of Ryan Meaney, near S.E. 9th Avenue and Lambert Street, was wrecked by the vandals.
"I spend about 40 or 50 hours putting up the 10,000 lights and 15 or 16 inflatable characters, because the neighbors seem to enjoy it so much every year," Meany told THE BEE. "So yes, I was really upset that morning when I'd seen that someone had slashed my big inflatable Santa, broke our decorations, and smashed some of our lights.
"But then, when I looked around and saw several of my neighbors sweeping up glass from broken vehicle windows up and down the street, I feel I got off relatively easy and cheap – we were able to sew up Santa for next year, and replacing bulbs is nothing compared with having to replace a car window," Meany mused.
He pointed out a minivan with a smashed a window; and a truck where vandals first missed smashing the window, and dented the side of the vehicle; and another small SUV with its back window smashed in.
"My neighbor told me that he woke up, hearing noise about 3:30 a.m. that morning, looked out and saw three or four kids, perhaps in their late teens, running toward Sellwood Park where we later learned a new house, under construction, had a big window smashed," Meany said. "I sure hope [the vandals] don't live in our neighborhood."
Few report vandalism
After checking the records, PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen told THE BEE that, of all this vandalism that took place early New Year's Day, only three victims had actually filed police reports.
"If there are more cases, please encourage the victims to make reports, even if there is no suspect information," Allen requested of THE BEE. "These reports can sometimes help us solve these cases – or solve other ones."THE BEE has heard of several recycling bins having been set on fire and melted in Westmoreland, too – but it is unclear if that was part of the same crime wave, or a separate incident.
It's not too late for victims or witnesses to call "Police Non-Emergency" at 503/823-3333, or to report this, or any other crime, online – www.portlandoregon.gov/police/cor
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