San Diego

SDPD Investigating Rash of BB Gun Vandalism Crimes Across Town

Crimes apparently committed with BB guns have popped up all over the city in the last few weeks and have targeted victims ranging from rideshare drivers and passengers in the College area to store owners in Hillcrest.

Law enforcement all over the county are working to see if there's a link between the crimes.

The first incidents happened earlier this month in Hillcrest. With Pride Festival just weeks away, some store owners who had their windows shot out feared they were being targeted because of the neighborhood where they operate.

“If it was an intentional crime, if it was a hate crime, it's sad. I think people should be left alone and just let them live their lives. It is what it is. You live yours, let them live theirs,” Glass Corner Cafe owner Samir Hanoosh said.

With San Diego Pride just around the corner, some business owners fear the vandalism is driven by hatred. NBC 7 Dave Summers has more.

Hanoosh's cafe on University Avenue and Richmond Street was vandalized between the first and the third of the month, just one week after its grand opening.

A print shop just a few blocks west was hit and the glass doors of a scooter shop nine blocks east were damaged by BB shots. The facades of all three businesses were temporarily covered with plywood.

A restaurant owner in the area told NBC 7 that she was planning Pride Festival specials and promotions but is now backing off, fearing her shop may be the one shot up next.

Then on July 6, SDPD said a Lyft driver reported being shot at while escorting two passengers along Nimitz Boulevard and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard at around 11 p.m.

Police said a Chili's restaurant on Sports Arena Boulevard was also shot at and had some of its windows shattered by pellet fire, as did a Vespa Motorsports store and an A-1 Storage facility on Pacific Highway.

A suspected BB gunner opened fire on an occupied Lyft car and several Midway District businesses late Saturday night. NBC 7's Mari Payton has more.

Vespa store owner Alex Cohn said it wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. He said someone opened fire on the business on July 1, shattering a window.

“This is still thousands of dollars in damage, yeah, for some broken windows, so we are pretty upset about the whole thing,” Cohn told NBC 7.

The next night, SDPD said a driver's rear window was shot out in the College Area.

“At the time I thought it was a real gunshot -- someone close by. Something hit the car real hard,” the driver told NBC 7. “I thought another shot was going to come in, so I ducked down. It was a really scary time.”

A driver had his back window shot out and several College Area businesses were also hit. NBC 7's Dave Summers has more.

Four businesses -- Quality Appliances, Bond’s Automotive and Collision, Lazy Hummingbird Coffee and Acai, and the Griflos Biomat USA Plasma Center -- were also hit by the BB gun, according to SDPD.

The damage to Mohamad’s car was significant, but not enough to make it worth an insurance claim with a high deductible, he said, so the $500 repairs would likely be out of pocket.

Such was the case for the business owners in Hillcrest who told NBC 7 much of the damage would come out-of-pocket. Some window repairs can cost up to $2,000 but we're told it's still less than their deductible.

Investigators are still trying to piece all the incidents together to determine if they are connected.

SDPD has crime reports from incidents occurring between June 24 and July 8. Businesses in Park West were damaged July 2, and several cars in Point Loma, ocean Beach, Mission Hills, Clairemont, and Lake Murray were also damaged.

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