Edmonton police searching for ‘deplorable’ vandals who smashed 71 bus shelters, costing taxpayers $30K

police are searching for suspects after a vandalism spree left numerous bus shelters with broken and shattered glass, costing taxpayers over $30,000 in damages.

From Feb. 18 to Feb. 21, vandals in northeast Edmonton left behind a swath of destruction in their wake as they took out 71 bus shelters, leaving a total of 80 tempered glass window panes destroyed. They also smashed windows in 15 houses and cars in the Evansdale, Casselman, Abbottsfield, Hairsine, McConachie, Kilkenny and McLeod neighbourhoods.

Police say all of the damage appears to have occurred overnight.

Six additional shelters were vandalized just after midnight on Friday, and three more were damaged later on in the day along 144 Avenue between 54 Street and 58 Street, police say.

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Police believe the suspects were driving a red Dodge Caravan at the time.

“This early into the investigation, we can’t rule out whether or not the houses and vehicles with broken windows are connected to the mischief to bus shelters,” says Edmonton police Det. Rick Dahl. “This mischief spree has negatively affected a lot of innocent citizens and transit riders.”

It costs Edmonton Transit $350 to replace a single pane of glass. Chuck , acting director of Customer Safety and Security for ETS, says his department has looked at other options to line bus shelters, including using polycarbonates, but says tempered glass remains the cheapest and safest option.

“There are some polycarbonate pieces that are $1,000 per piece,” said Van Deel Piepers. “We’ve been looking at it to see what is the best product but at the end of the day we want to deal with a product that’s not going to get bleached by the sun, or doesn’t get etched on easily, or get oxidized from cleaning products.”

Van Deel Piepers described this recent rash of vandalism as “frustrating” because replacing damaged panes takes priority over other important work.

“It’s deplorable. We’re saddened and angry… it really doesn’t make sense,” said Van Deel Piepers.

About Trevor Robb, Postmedia News