The holiday season brought a few unwanted “gifts” to a local downtown business.
Sometime over the holidays – between Dec. 23, 2018 and Jan. 2 2019 – the front of Jo(e) Social Media, located at 4705-49c Ave. south of the Flatiron building, was hit with a series of BB gun shots.
Upon return to work this week, co-owner Joe Whitbread discovered the damage, along with the pellets – silver, steel balls too tiny to cause the damage they did by just throwing them – in the snow.
“There’s eight BB bullet holes – it’s a double pane of glass so they’ve perforated the outside,” Whitbread said. “They make a great picture, but the window’s damaged, obviously.”
In speaking with the Lacombe Police Service, he says police had not received other reports of such hits elsewhere in the city. As far as he knows, neighbouring businesses weren’t victims of a similar attack, either, making it an isolated incident.
He doesn’t believe it was a targeted attack, but “the old kids playing routine” – a random incident akin to a building being tagged with graffiti. Still, while no one was in the building nor was anyone injured, it’s still a disheartening situation.
“You feel a bit violated anytime your business, or your home or your vehicle, has been damaged. It’s a little harder to take when you realize it’s a weapon,” he said. “These BB guns are weapons – they’re certainly toys, but it’s a gun. It was shot at our building, so that’s a bit scary, especially in Lacombe.”
The incident has been reported to police, however, he says he has zero footage or pictures of the incident – just the aftermath. Beyond reporting it, there’s not too much else that can be done other than just making people in the community aware such an incident can happen in the community.
Fortunately, the repair costs, which potentially be in the thousands for window replacement, may not rest solely on the social media agency’s shoulders.
In April of last year, the ECHO Lacombe Association introduced the Small Business Emergency Fund, which is aimed at helping businesses in the community facing hardship due to such acts of vandalism. A grant and a zero-interest loan, if needed, may be provided, with the loan to be repaid once insurance monies are recouped.
Whitbread says it’s an option they’re exploring to replace the windows before winter weather aggravates the damage already done.
The Lacombe Globe has also reached out to the Lacombe Police Service and will update as more information becomes available.
As always, anyone with information about this incident or any other crime are encouraged to contact the Lacombe Police Service at (403)782-3279 or local police. Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.tipsubmit.com.