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Despite wave of broken windows and vandalism, police calls in downtown Spokane drop

A smashed window in a popular candy store.

Pellet gun holes and cracked glass in an architectural firm.

Another pea-sized hole and broken window at a new brewery hoping to open in January.

All within a two-block stretch of West Sprague Avenue.

Seemingly more common and certainly frustrating for business and building owners, downtown vandalism, graffiti, and other malicious calls to Spokane police are actually down this year from 2020.

There were 491 incidents of malicious mischief reported to police in 2020 between January 1 and September 13, and 448 during the same period this year, according to information provided by Spokane Police Department officer Stephen Anderson, a spokesperson for the department.

There were 565 downtown service calls related to malicious mischief throughout 2019.

Jessica Parkhurst, owner of Bruttles Gourmet Candy Shoppe, said her store’s front window was smashed early in the morning about two weeks ago.

No one entered his store or stole anything. Still, she said it would cost well over $ 1,000 to replace the window, which currently has a sheet of wood in its place.

Parkhurst, who also owns Bruttles in Spokane Valley, said she has owned the downtown location since 2013 and no one has ever broken the glass.

Camden Hopkins, receptionist at Anchored Art Tattoo, said the tattoo parlor’s display case was smashed in early September but, like Bruttles, no merchandise or money was stolen.

John Waite, owner of Auntie’s Bookstore, said someone hit his bookstore window in late August, causing it to crack. A policeman was parked nearby and grabbed the person, Waite said.

He said it could have been a lot worse.

“These things are happening downtown,” Waite said.

He said it was the first time someone had smashed their window in six years of owning the West Main Avenue store.

“Just a bump in the road that all businesses unfortunately face,” Waite said.

Sean Owens, who opens Common Language Brewery in the 900 block of West Sprague, was disappointed but wary of people smashing windows and vandalizing the city’s storefronts.

“If you look at it through the lens of the property being destroyed, you are missing the story,” Owens said. “This story is the tragic story of people who have nothing. It’s sad.”

He described the vandalism as a symptom of a larger problem.

“No one ever excuses it, but I can certainly see the desperation in people… looking at the haves,” he said. “Add drug addiction and anger – it’s a challenge. “

Kip Harrison, owner of Paradigm Skate Supply, said his business was robbed twice at the end of the summer.

He said someone, in the early morning of September, threw a stone in his business window, then climbed inside and stole several items. He estimated his financial loss at around $ 4,000.

He said the person stole longboards, skateboard parts, shoes, shirts, sweatshirts and coats, among other items.

Police recovered some of the cheaper items and arrested the person, Harrison said. He said he would have lost about $ 6,000 if the police had not caught him.

About three weeks before this break-in, Harrison’s glass door was smashed and a donation jar on the counter, which contained around $ 100, was stolen. Harrison said the donations were for a group that builds obstacles for children to skate.

He said his point of sale system was also stolen in the incident.

“I just can’t believe it,” Harrison said. “It’s like, I don’t know if I’m having the worst luck ever or what.”

Harrison said Paradigm Skate Supply had been on South Washington Street since 2008 and acquired the business from a friend on May 1.

Harrison said the store had been robbed five times in the 13 years before it was taken over. He said neighboring businesses had not been broken into, which puzzled him as they have more expensive items than him.

Harrison said he plans to improve security measures at his store, including implementing a security system in addition to the cameras he already has in place.

SR reporter Emma Epperly contributed to this report.

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