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News / Business / Clark County Business

Vancouver businesses’ windows broken during spate of vandalism

Rock-throwing bedevils downtown, uptown sites; no suspects ID’d so far

By Sarah Wolf, Columbian staff writer
Published: December 12, 2023, 5:12pm
4 Photos
The Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St., was one of several businesses that had its windows broken in recent weeks.
The Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St., was one of several businesses that had its windows broken in recent weeks. (Photo contributed by FVRLibraries) Photo Gallery

Bleu Door Bakery has been a staple of Vancouver’s Uptown Village for more than a decade. It’s well known in the community for its decadent pastries and cookies.

But last week it became known for another reason — having rocks thrown through the bakery’s windows twice in a week.

“We’ve never had the amount of vandalism that we’ve had in the last week,” owner Bonnie Brasure said. The business was attacked for the first time two weeks ago and then again five days later.

A recent spate of broken windows in downtown and uptown Vancouver disrupted small businesses in the area, many of which already operate on thin margins.

As of Monday, five businesses reported to the Vancouver Police Department that rocks were thrown through their windows — incidents that all happened within a week of each other. One car was also reportedly struck.

Since Monday, even more boarded-up windows have been spotted around town since the initial vandalism occurred the last week of November and first week of December.

Businesses as far south as West Eighth Street downtown and as far north as Bleu Door Bakery, just past East 24th Street in Uptown Village, reported vandalism. The Columbian suffered a broken window during the spate, although the damage was not as significant as some seen by the retail shops farther east.

“Given the close proximity of the incidents, it is possible that these were all committed by the same individual(s),” Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

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The incidents reported to the police are all active investigations, and no suspect has been identified.

“It’s a big deal,” said Brasure, who expects to have to pay for at least one of the window repairs out of pocket.

A Sunday morning cook and server at Paul’s Restaurant discovered a basketball-sized hole at the restaurant in the early morning hours of Dec. 3, owner Margaret Yu said.

“We were really shocked,” Yu said.

Paul’s was able to open that day, saving the restaurant from the further cost of losing business on its busiest day.

Restaurants operate on notoriously thin margins. Bleu Door wasn’t able to open on time when its windows were broken.

Yu’s window was repaired. Her insurance will cover most of the cost of the repairs, minus a deductible. Still, she was saddened by the incident.

Vandalism and malicious mischief reports have been steady citywide over the past several months, according to the Vancouver Police Department. There have been about 350 per month since August. December numbers weren’t available yet.

That same Sunday morning, staff at the Vancouver Community Library discovered a broken window. A replacement will take three to four weeks.

The library is looking into installing security cameras after the incident, according to FVRLibraries spokesperson Tak Kendrick.

“Window smashing in downtown is often random, with instances involving reoccurring perpetrators,” Vancouver’s Downtown Association Director Michael Walker said. “This has understandably sparked concerns among local business owners, and we sympathize with the challenges they are presently navigating.”

The association established a “broken window” fund and is seeking money to expand nightly patrols in the area.

Despite the damage, the businesses are moving forward, and the community has rallied around them. Bleu Door Bakery even sold Broken Window cookies in recognition of the incidents.

“You have to keep moving,” Brasure said. “You can’t stop. It happens.”