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Dozens of Car Windows Shot in Laguna Rampage

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three vandals in a pickup truck cruised through this coastal community in the darkness early Sunday and randomly shot out windows in about 45 parked vehicles, authorities said.

“It’s all through town and just one car after another with a window out,” Police Sgt. Greg Bartz said.

Perhaps the hardest hit part of Laguna Beach was Skyline Drive, where resident Laura Tan woke up Sunday to discover her black 1988 Mercedes Benz 300E had its driver-side window shattered.

The fact that she was not the only victim did little to appease feelings of exasperation for Tan, whose family recently rebuilt their home after the devastating fire that swept through Laguna in late 1993, damaging and destroying more than 400 dwellings.

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“Since the fire, we have just been having a lot of problems on the street,” Tan, 26, said. “There were three cars in a row with broken windows. I had two cars parked outside our house, thank goodness only one was hit.”

Bartz said police were alerted to the vandalism about 3 a.m. by a Temple Hills Drive resident whose car window had been broken. Police believe the vandals, described as adult males, used “some sort of projectile, either a BB gun, pellet gun or a slingshot.”

“We got a call from a citizen, our first victim, who had either seen or heard a vehicle going back and forth down their street,” Bartz said. Police in the area found two vehicles on Temple Hills Drive damaged and then more on streets throughout the center of town.

A man delivering morning newspapers saw three people in a light blue, older-model, full-size pickup break a window, but police sent to the area could not find the suspects, Bartz said.

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“This time it’s not teenagers, they’re adults,” Bartz said. He noted that the vandals hit mostly side or rear windows and only a few front windshields.

Joseph J. Arena had the rear window of his white 1990 Acura Integra shot out in two places. He believes the vandals used a BB gun.

“The window just exploded like a sunburst,” said Arena, 64, who lives on St. Ann’s Drive across from Laguna Beach High School. “I’ll just pray it doesn’t rain for the next few days.”

By Sunday afternoon, police had counted about 45 victims of the vandalism.

“We’ve had this kind of thing before, but not to this extent,” Bartz said. “It kind of makes you wonder who is opening an auto-glass business in the area.”


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