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Billings glass shops busy with work after mass vandalism

Glass shops at work
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jan 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-30 09:00:14-05

Billings glass shops were slammed with calls Monday morning after mass vandalism took place over the weekend, breaking the windows of nearly 100 vehicles.

Police originally received 51 calls for vandalism on Saturday, but on Monday, that number had nearly doubled to 91 confirmed cases.

The majority of those cases happened between the 100 block and 1500 block of Terry Avenue, and police said most of the damage appeared to come from BB pellets shot through windows.

There was also a few cases of vandalism in the Billings Heights, although police could not confirm if the suspects in the mass vandalism were connected to those acts.

The Animal Hospital on Main Street had a shattered window and another building, which used to be Taco Del Sol and will soon be a storefront for a food truck called La Taqueria, also had a broken window on Friday night.

La Taqueria owner Miguel Hernandez said he was shocked when he heard that his building had been damaged.

"It was demoralizing a little bit," Hernandez said. "It was disappointing for sure."

Hernandez said his mind filled with questions when he heard the news and he began fearing the worst.

"My first thought was like, 'Why?'" Hernandez said. "Like, there's no reason to go around and vandalize people's properties."

Hernandez said the process of establishing a storefront for his food truck has been hectic enough and that the additional damage just adds to the chaos and creates another financial burden.

"It's more work, so now, instead of focusing on getting some of this stuff organized, I gotta step back and take care of this," Hernandez said. "It's disheartening."

Those emotions were felt by many in Billings over the weekend. Police said they expect they will see reports of more vandalism from the weekend.

Those damages have made for some busy days at local glass shops, like Glass Specialists.

"It was phone calls nonstop," said lead technician Teran Lynch. "We've already done 10 or 12 of them today, and there's going to be more."

Lynch said he and his team have been trying to fix customer's windows all day and that they expected to be busy with them all week.

"We already have four or five of these tomorrow and it carries on through the week," Lynch said. "So, it’s probably going to be a week-long ordeal."

Other glass shops were also feeling the rush in business. Speedy Glass branch manager Billy Alberts said when there's vandalism or a large storm, it always sets them up for chaotic days of work.

"Anytime there's ever any vandalism and stuff like that, it kind of gets pretty hectic," Alberts said. "There's always a lot of phone calls and stuff like that."

Alberts said they received a multitude of calls Monday and were so backed up that some customers were being put on a two-week wait list.

"The best case scenario is we have it in stock with our local supplier," Alberts said. "If they don’t have it but can get it, we can get it out of Phoenix but it usually takes about two weeks."

A problem that is being felt by many, and one that is sure to have a lasting impact.

"There's just no respect for people's properties and what they've worked for," Hernandez said.