Vandals strike city shops

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 12:58 31/07/2014
Ann Banks
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
BRASSED OFF: Ann Banks owner of Casa de Vino had her window etched this week.
Ann Banks
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
DAMAGE DONE: A close-up view of the tag left on Nelson shop windows.

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A spate of vandalism in central Nelson has business owners worried in an already stressful time of year.

Casa Del Vino owner Ann Banks said she noticed a tag etched into the glass of her storefront yesterday morning.

Banks was not the only store targeted - next door at Neil Esposito Optometrists there was a scratch along the front window, while Barkers had a similar graffiti style tag etched into its windows and Cotton On Kids had also been damaged.

Banks expected her damage to cost at least $1000 and was unsure if it was her's or her landlord's bill to pay.

She had been told she would need to get the whole window replaced as well as the carpentry.

She called the etching an act of "wanton destruction".

"It's such a pointless thing to do to all the shops along here. You can't get it out, you have to replace it [the window]."

She had reported the damage to the police said they would be looking into the complaint.

Banks feared she would have the window fixed only for it to be damaged again.

"I am scared that I will get it fixed and they will do it again or do something worse like bash it with a baseball bat. I think because that was done to a few shops its a little bit worrying as to whether it might happen again."

She had not experienced this kind of vandalism in her seven years of owning the store.

"It is worrying and unnerving," she said.

"It's very challenging in mid-winter in Nelson so this adds to that.

"If I had to pay, that's huge. I would have to sell a lot of wine to make that sort of money at this time of year."

She had spoken with her landlord, who did not want to be named, and the two were speaking with their insurance companies about who was responsible for the bill.

Her landlord owned a currently empty store next door which was to open next month. It has also been scratched though he did not think the whole window would need to be replaced.

The landlord said the vandalism was "cowardly" and added unnecessary stress to local business owners.

Banks hoped people would watch out for acts of vandalism in Nelson.

On Monday night, a window at co-op owned Fibre Spectrum craft store on Trafalgar St was smashed, in an act co-op member Karen Broderson called "brainless".

The co-op believed someone had thrown a bottle through the window. They had reported the damage to the police and were waiting for a quote on how much it should cost to replace the window.

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"We have a $500 excess [for insurance] as it is. It's a bit of a blow anytime, but at this time of the year when it is quiet and we have free parking to try and get people back to Nelson . . . You just plod on."

Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan said she had not been aware of the vandalism. She believed Nelson was safe at night and felt police were patrolling the city well, on foot and with CCTV.

"I wouldn't be at all surprised if it [vandalism] was caught on camera. There are cameras all around the city."

Amazon in Morrison Square had also had a window smashed in two weeks ago, on a Saturday night. Store employees believed someone had smashed it with a baseball bat, but had not tried to enter the store.

The damage had also been reported to police. The window was fixed at a cost of $290.

- Nelson

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