By William Thompson
More than a dozen windows have been shot out, kicked out or bashed with a rock or a bat since late May, according to Tucumcari police reports, and some area business owners are growing frustrated.
Tee Pee Curios owner Mike Callens, whose business lost a large front window to vandals recently, vented his frustration to Mayor Mary Mayfield who said she took Callens’ complaints to City Manager Richard Primrose.
“We need the citizens to keep a lookout and give us any information they have,” Primrose said.
Tucumcari’s interim Police Chief Mark Radosevich said officers have been given “specific instructions” regarding the vandalism and the department has instituted “aggressive patrol procedures.” He declined to say what those procedures were.
Radosevich said two officers have returned recently from the police academy, which boosts the number of officers who can respond to calls from 11 to 13. He said that may help reduce the city’s vandalism.
Radosevich also said four juveniles were arrested over the weekend and they are believed to be responsible for some of the recent incidents.
Mayfield said she had no idea until recently there had been so many incidents of vandalism, at least 16 according to police reports, since school let out last month.
“Our business people cannot afford to absorb that kind of loss,” she said.
Radosevich said he believes the incidents are “substantially less” than normal this time of year. He said he bases his belief on discussions with veteran officers and others in the community.
But he agrees with property owners that even one incident is too many.
Callens said his business had been targeted by vandals in years past.
“It’s no longer vandalism, it’s terrorism,” Callens said. “I’m voicing my opinion for other small business owners who have had their windows broken.”
Broken windows are not new in Tucumcari. In October 2003, the city underwent a similar string of vandalism. More than 20 reports of vandalism were reported to Tucumcari police that month.
Jennings Furniture on Main Street had windows broken on a number of occasions in 2003. In October 2003, Stanley Jennings expressed his frustration at the vandalism done to his furniture store.
”I am just going to put up ugly boards and say, ‘This is our town.’” Jennings said. “It’s a shame; the town didn’t used to be this way.”
Primrose said he has discussed the current vandalism with the police chief.
“We’re going to do all we can to put a stop to this vandalism,” Primrose said. “In the meantime I urge citizens to call the police department at 461-2160 or Crimestoppers at 461-3507.”
Maria Elam, of St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store on East Main Street, said she has no idea who broke one of the store’s front windows. She said she’s aware of other businesses with windows broken recently.
“The latest estimate we have for the window is $1,700,” Elam said. “I don’t know who is breaking the windows, but they sure are having a party around town.”
The following incidents of vandalism have occurred since May 25 according to Tucumcari police reports:
May 25 – St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store on East Main Street, officer reported one large window broken.
May 31 – Center Street United Methodist Church, one small window broken at entrance to fellowship hall.
June 1 – Center Street United Methodist Church, two large windows broken at entrance to fellowship hall.
June 1 – 700 block of South First Street, officer reported a 3-foot-by-4-foot window had been “broken with a rock.”
June 1 – The Salon, East Hancock Street, officer reported two 5-foot-by-4-foot windows and a storm door “broken with rocks.”
June 1 – Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, officer reported outside light fixtures “broken with rocks.”
June 1 – Big Country Ford, South First Street, officer reported broken window on a Ford pickup.
June 1 – The former Shell station on West Route 66 Boulevard, officer reported a window broken.
June 2 – 1200 block of South Jackson Street, officer reported a flag broken off a resident’s mailbox.
June 4 – 700 block of East Main Street, officer reported three windows had been “broken with a rock.”
June 5 – 800 block of South First Street, officer reported the rear window of a vehicle broken out “possibly by a bat.”
June 6 – 700 block of West Mesquite Avenue, officer reported rear window of a pickup “kicked out.”
June 7 – 1700 block of South Third Street, officer reported south window broken out.
Thursday – Tee Pee Curios, East Route 66 Boulevard, officer reported a 5-foot-by-8-foot window “shot out.”
Friday – Cactus RV Park, officer reported paint thrown on a sign.
Saturday – 1000 block of South Monroe Street, officer reported a rear windshield broken.
To report vandalism:
Call Crimestoppers at 461-3507 to give information anonymously or call Tucumcari police at 461-2160.