Vandals’ vehicle-smashing spree vexes outer East Portland residents

Even worse than the damage already done to 40+ vehicles is the concern that the hooligans are still on the loose‚ and might be returning. See exclusive photos‚

The owner of this car‚ one of many damaged in the early-morning smashing spree‚ taped up the baseball-sized hole to keep rain from damaging the interior of her car.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s clear: windows of about 40 vehicles were bashed in, or smashed out, during the early morning vandalism spree on June 28.

What isn’t clear is why the perpetrators of this senseless destruction chose this activity ‚Äì or who the thugs may be.

The area of outer East Portland affected by the crime lies between SE Stark Street, north to NE Halsey Street, and from 77th Avenue to as far east as 122nd Avenue.

Teens chased by neighbors
Police officers are called into the neighborhood about 3:30 a.m., answering a car prowl report, officials say. A neighbor who says he just chased a teenager out of the area flags down officers, as they roll into the area. A witness reports seeing a silver car, driven by a teenager, flee the neighborhood.

A K-9 team patrol car rushes to the area, but no suspects are tracked down.

Rear windows targeted
As owners inspect their newly-damaged cars, they notice nothing has been stolen from them. Instead of finding items removed, many of them find their vehicles now have something extra: Baseball to softball size rocks in the back seats of cars.

As the sun rises and residents in the affected area awaken, officers find a rapidly-increasing number of cars with the back windows broken out.

Afraid of a return visit
With so many cars damaged in the area of NE 77th Avenue, north of NE Glisan Street, residents with whom we spoke say they are afraid to be identified. We assure them we won’t report even their block address.

“We don’t know who they are; the police haven’t caught them‚ they’re still out there. We’re worried they’ll come back tonight,” says one nervous resident as he works in his yard.

The neighbor of the owner of this car says the entire rear window was smashed out “for no apparent reason. They didn’t steal anything.”

Further east from the other incidents, near SE 109th Avenue and SE Stark Street another car is damaged.

Marilyn Blufton tapes plastic across the gaping hole in the rear window of her black Toyota. “This car isn’t anything special; but it is my transportation. It’s how I get to work. I don’t understand what the thrill is to smash up someone’s car.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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