Pattern to vandalism clear to see

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 08:18 11/08/2014
glass tagger
MARTIN DE RUYTER/FAIRFAX NZ
TAG TARGET: Francis Lagrutta with example of the type glass damage his company Nelson Autoglass is removing from local businesses windows.

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A local glass specialist says he recognises the tags etched into windows in Nelson as he repairs damage from glass tagging at least three times a month.

Last week the Nelson Mail reported on a spate of vandalism in central Nelson, which had business owners worried in an already stressful time of year.

Casa Del Vino owner Ann Banks had a tag etched into the glass of her store front on Hardy St, as did her neighbour Neil Esposito Optometrists while Barkers had a similar graffiti style tag etched into its windows and Cotton On Kids had also been damaged.

Banks was still waiting to hear from police about her complaint and was waiting on quotes to fix the damage.

Nelson Autoglass owner Francis Lagrutta had contacted Banks after her damage was reported in the Mail. He said he recognised the tag.

Lagrutta said after the school holidays he had many calls from businesses in Nelson who needed repairs to damaged glass.

He said they had been called to removed scratches all through the Nelson CBD over the past six years.

He had seen the tag that the Nelson Mail reported on last week.

"It's the same tag, 9 out 10 times."

He said they were called to remove tags on business windows at least three times a month. His own business on Vanguard St had also been targeted at least twice a year.

Lagrutta said he would quote each repair job individually, but a ballpark figure to get a scratch removed was $380. It would depend on a person's insurance and the building owner as to how it would be paid - but there would often be an excess of $500.

‘It's a pain and a nuisance for retailers," he said.

"There's no respect for other people's property...as retailers it's getting harder. You work hard to make $500 in a business."

Community police section Sergeant Mal Drummond said the glass tagging was frustrating to business owners and police alike.

"As far as patterns go, it's sporadic and we tend to have a group of youths who will partake in that sort of behaviour and then move on," he said.

"It's sometimes just visitors to the city that decide to leave their mark or maybe it is local young people. We view it as a serious form of intentional damage because it is so disruptive and destructive."

He encouraged people to report the tagging to police as soon as possible.

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He said there were a "number of cameras" in the CBD and if police received a complaint they could review footage.

"If we have any defined periods of time we can go back and review saved images."

He said Banks' complaint was likely to be in the queue for police investigation.

Police viewed the graffiti as intentional damage which could carry a term of imprisonment, and could get the accused to pay in reparation.

"It's one of those offences which we are frustrated at, but take seriously. We want it to stop."

- The Nelson Mail

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