South Island police departments are sharing more details about a vandalism spree that saw more than 70 vehicles damaged and others ransacked of loose change earlier this month.
On Thursday, Feb. 1, between 6:50 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., a man allegedly attempted to enter vehicles in the 2200-block of Florence Street and the 3500-block of Estevan Avenue in Oak Bay, according to Oak Bay Police in a news release Wednesday.
“The man used a long skateboard to smash the headlights and taillights of multiple vehicles. Four vehicles were damaged, and two vehicles were entered with small amounts of loose change taken,” said police.
But it was a cross-municipality spree.
Similar incidents happened earlier that morning in nearby Victoria, where witnesses told CHEK News they spotted dozens of vandalized vehicles, including some that were keyed and others that had smashed out windows and lights.
Victoria Police confirmed this, saying the damaged vehicles in their municipality were along Gladstone and Stanley avenues and Chestnut and Amphion streets.
VicPD started receiving reports from people in the Fernwood and Oak Bay neighbourhoods around 6 a.m. Later Thursday night, more vehicles along lower Cook Street were also targeted.
“So far, more than 70 vehicles have been affected, with the total number still being determined through the ongoing investigation,” VicPD said in its own update Wednesday.
“The damage ranged from deep scratch marks to smashed lights and dents.”
Caught on camera
In Victoria, Sean Roberts’ security camera captured video of the man keying his car. Roberts told CHEK News he was “pretty pissed off,” adding, “This feels like a real violation of our property and just general sense of safety here.”
His video also showed the man with the skateboard.
Meanwhile, local resident Amanda said her morning walk turned “bizarre” when she spotted vandalized vehicles. Then, she noticed her own car had been targeted, too.
Following the incidents, Ryan Atchison, owner of Parker’s Auto Body, said fixing a keyed car can be costly depending on how deep the damage is and how many coats of paint are needed.
He noted that it could cost up to $1,500 per panel.
Atchison also said most people go through insurance. He added that those with comprehensive coverage would have the vandalism covered, with the deductible depending on the type of coverage they have.
Last Thursday, police told CHEK News they were still searching for the suspect. They shared his description in the hope that someone with information would come forward, noting that the man was believed to be in his 20s with a thin build.
Suspect arrested, in custody
In an update Wednesday, Victoria police say officers arrested the alleged suspect, Ryder Porrelli, who faces two mischief charges.
“This is an excellent example of teamwork between our Patrol Division, our General Investigation Section, and the public; helpful tips and reports from the community were instrumental in identifying the suspect,” said VicPD Chief Constable Del Manak.
“Whether it is a single vehicle damaged or 70, we know this is a massive inconvenience and a significant cost to all the impacted vehicle owners. It is important we send a strong message that individuals will not get away with this type of behaviour in our communities.”
Police say Porrelli remains in custody pending a further court appearance.
“As this matter is now before the courts, further information cannot be shared at this time,” added VicPD.
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-with files from CHEK’s Adam Chan, Kori Sidaway