BB gun vandalism is getting expensive for some east Tulsa businesses

Friday, June 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Some east Tulsa businesses say vandalism is costing them a bundle. Someone is breaking out store and vehicle windows.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright tells us that one place must choose between fixing their windows and helping sick children. When the employees of CF Solutions first looked out their windows, they thought it was raining, but, when they took a closer look, they realized the outside plate glass was shattered and it didn't just happen once. Tina Long, CF Solutions: "When the second window was busted, they also broke out the back window of our company vehicle, shattered it and there was a bullet hole on our door."

The damage mostly shows up on weekends. The employees here found these two ball bearings in between the two plate glass windows. So, it doesn't look like a gun is being used, maybe slingshot, but, the damage done is just as expensive.

The estimate to fix one window is $500 and for a non-profit organization helping pay for life-saving medicine for children with cystic fibrosis, it's simply too much. “Every time we get hit, it takes medicine away from kids, that's why it's so irritating to us." And, other businesses are feeling the pinch too, a nearby car lot has been hit repeatedly, including this RV's windshield that is expensive to replace because it must be custom-ordered.

Many places say they won't replace the broken windows for fear the vandals will just strike again. "We're biding our time because we feel they'll come back. We've even talked to overhead door folks about a steel covering that will protect our windows because we can't keep replacing these, we can't afford it." Everyone hopes this isn't a repeat of last year when hundreds of windows were shot out, costing tens of thousands of dollars to small businesses already struggling in this tough economy.

Police arrested 55-year-old Larry Watts earlier this year for shooting out store windows with a BB gun. He's still in custody, undergoing psychiatric care.