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Armed vandals strike downtown

January 18, 2001

Armed vandals strike downtown



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer
Brenda Rafter

Budget Printing Center co-owner Brenda Rafter stares out of her store's window at 59 Cannon Ave. in Hagerstown. The windows and front door of her business were shot Wednesday night.

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER

staff photographer



Vandals armed with BB or pellet guns targeted windows in Hagerstown's downtown, shattering or leaving dime-size holes in the windows of at least seven businesses.

Hagerstown City Police Detective Gary Spielman said the vandals likely drove around the downtown, randomly shooting at windows between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Properties vandalized include The Dairy Queen on Dual Highway; Lena Darner Boutique and Bogard's USA Inc. on North Potomac Street; R. Bruce Carson Jewelers on Public Square; Budget Printing on North Cannon Avenue; Foltz Manufacturing on East Washington Street, and The Herald-Mail Co. on Summit Avenue.

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Many of the buildings hit were at corners with stoplights, which may have made them easy targets, Spielman said.

"Some people don't realize or don't care that the damage they do is going to be an expense," he said.

Spielman said a cash reward of an undetermined amount will be offered for information about the vandalism.

Jerry Rafter, co-owner of Budget Printing, spent the night on the couch at his business after finding three of his building's front windows had been shattered.

"Somebody must get a thrill out of watching glass shatter. It's a mindless activity," Rafter said.

A former employee noticed the damage around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and called him and the police, he said.

Rafter propped corkboards against the 3-feet-by-10-feet windows to keep out robbers, vandals and the elements. He slept there as a security measure, he said.

The Cannon Street business, which has been in the downtown since 1987, had never been vandalized in such a way before, Rafter said.

Repairs could run as high as $2,500, he estimated.

"I'm disappointed that there's someone out there with that mentality," said Rafter.

Employees at Budget Printing spent Thursday sweeping up glass and dusting it off books and displays, he said. Workers also boarded up the shattered windows with plywood.

"It's more of an inconvenience than a financial loss," he said.

Two of the windows at R. Bruce Carson Jewelers were damaged buy the pellets, which left dime-size holes. Thomas Newcomer, president of R. Bruce Carson, estimated the replacement cost would be around $2,500.

"I just hope they catch who did it," he said.

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