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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

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

UPDATED: Sat., Nov. 6, 2021

A shattered window at a popular candy shop.

Pellet gun holes and cracked glass at 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 mischief calls to Spokane police are actually down this year compared to 2020.

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

There were 565 calls for service downtown related to malicious mischief in the entirety of 2019.

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

No one entered her store or stole anything. Still, she said it will 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 shattered the glass.

Camden Hopkins, a receptionist at Anchored Art Tattoo, said the tattoo shop’s front glass window was smashed in early September, but, just like Bruttles, no merchandise or money were stolen.

John Waite, owner of Auntie’s Bookstore, said someone beat on the window of his bookstore in late August, causing it to crack. A police officer was parked nearby and caught the person, Waite said.

He said it could have been a lot worse.

“These things happen downtown,” Waite said.

He said this was the first time someone broke his window in the six years he has owned the shop on West Main Avenue.

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

Sean Owens, who is opening Common Language Brewery on the 900 block of West Sprague, was disappointed but circumspect about people breaking windows and vandalizing storefronts in the city.

“If you look at this through the lens of property being destroyed, you miss 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 certainly I can see the desperation in people … looking in at the haves,” he said. “Add substance abuse into it and anger – it’s a challenge.”

Kip Harrison, owner of Paradigm Skate Supply, said his business was burglarized twice late this summer.

He said someone on an early September morning threw a rock into his front business window and then climbed in and stole several items. He estimated his financial loss to be about $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 prior to that burglary, Harrison’s front glass door was busted and a donation jar on the counter, which had around $100, was stolen. Harrison said the donations were intended to go to a group that builds obstacles for children to skate.

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

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

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

Harrison said the shop was broken into five times in the 13 years prior to him taking ownership. He said neighboring businesses have not been burglarized, which puzzled him because they have more expensive items than him.

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

S-R reporter Emma Epperly contributed to this report.

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