A Yellowknife senior’s 1971 Volkswagen Beetle was marred with red spray paint “from the front to the back” as part of a recent act of vandalism in the underground parkade below Centre Square Mall.
Brad Enge lives in the Northern Heights Condo, whose residents use the parking garage. He said his neighbour owns the classic car, which he called the “crown jewel of her life.”
“She takes a lot of pride and joy in that car,” he told Cabin Radio. “It was a lifelong dream of hers to actually finally own one, and this is what happened to it.”
He said he doesn’t know why anyone would vandalize the vehicle.
More photos of the damage to the classic car. Photos: Brad Enge
“She doesn’t have an enemy in the world.”
Gerri Saville said she’s own the Beetle since 2007, and has the underground parking stall to keep it safe. She said she was hurt when she found out it had been vandalized.
“It’s just disheartening to think that somebody has that much spare time on their hands and nothing better to do with it,” she said.
Saville said people who park in the underground parkade sign a waiver that says management is not responsible for damage to personal property. She said she’s thankful her insurance will cover the costs to repair her vehicle.
Enge said the damage to his neighbour’s car is a “double whammy” as she’s still waiting for renovations on her condo to be finished. Enge said it was flooded by sprinklers that went off after a fire started in the unit in late February while his neighbour was on vacation.
“She’s feeling a bit devastated and weakened by this,” he said. “She’s just wondering what else traumatic can happen to her. She’s a little bit discombobulated right now.”
Saville wasn’t the only one whose vehicle targeted in the incident. Other vehicles, as well as the walls and floor of the parkade, were spray painted with “nonsensical images, and lines, and diagrams” sometime between Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Whoever was responsible for the graffiti, Enge said, attempted to spray paint the security cameras in the underground parkade but it did not appear the paint adhered to the lenses.
Some of the graffiti includes BLM, the acronym for Black Lives Matter. Brad Enge says he doesn’t believe it’s associated with the movement. Photo: Brad Enge
Enge said he took photos of the damage on Monday morning and spoke with the RCMP.
The photos show the words “ride or die” spray painted in big block letters on one wall of the parkade. On another, “MS-13” – the moniker for an international criminal gang – appears. On a column, wall and floor of the parkade, BLM – the acronym for Black Lives Matter – was painted.
Enge said he doesn’t believe the person or people responsible for the graffiti are involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, but rather used it as “a convenient distraction.”
He noted there have been at least two incidents in recent months where two men have snuck into the parkade by following vehicles entering through the garage doors. In one case, he said, they were spotted rummaging through unlocked vehicles.
“I hope we catch them,” Enge said of whoever is responsible for the damage.
RCMP seek witnesses to vandalism incidents
In a statement on Tuesday, Yellowknife RCMP said they are looking for witnesses to two incidents involving vehicles being spray painted.
Police did not directly identify the underground parkade but said the incidents occurred in the area of 49 Street and 50 Street, where Centre Square Mall is located.
According to police, the first incident happened sometime between the evening of July 4 and the morning of July 5. The second incident is believed to have happened on July 6 sometime between 2am and 3am.
More photos of the damage to vehicles and the parkade. Photos: Brad Enge
RCMP said video surveillance is being reviewed as part of the investigation.
Anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area is asked to contact Yellowknife RCMP at (867) 669-1111. Tips can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, by emailing nwtnutips.com, or texting “nwtnutips” plus a message to 274637.
Management for Centre Square Mall did not immediately return Cabin Radio’s request for comment.