$600K vandalism, frustration at Seattle car dealership
The Seattle Police Department tells KIRO Radio that it has been working with the car dealership’s owner since the vandalism has started. There is a case number and the incidents are being investigated.
Wild West Cars and Trucks, a used car dealership in North Seattle, has suffered over half a million dollars in damage due to several incidents of vandalism.
Despite the expensive, unique nature of the incidents — cars sprayed with a highly corrosive substance — the fact the dealership has security video of the crimes, or the business owner’s suspicions of who is doing it, police have yet to follow up.
“Every time I’ve been told the same thing: ‘A detective will be in touch with you,’” dealership owner Randy Lindquist told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “To this date, I have not had a detective come out and even visit the dealership on any of the occurrences. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out a person this destructive and this hell-bent is dangerous to the public.”
“The cars got sprayed with a substance that we’ve defined as aircraft stripper,” he said. “And unfortunately this is the fifth or sixth incident relating to this that’s been done to the dealership. The severity of the crime has gotten to the point where the insurance company is no longer footing the bill for it, so personally it’s cost us a couple hundred thousand in damage.”
The dealership’s security cameras captured the vandalism as it happened. During the most recent incident, a car that appears to be a 2017 Toyota Camry or Lexus ES 350 is seen driving by on Lake City Way. A passenger then sprays the vehicles with a high-powered sprayer full of the corrosive substance. The substance strips the cars of their paint.
Lindquist said he believes the sprayer is a pressurized fire extinguisher or pest sprayer.
“It’s delivering, we think, in the gallons of material onto the vehicles,” he said. “The material is extremely dangerous and causes an awful lot of grave damage to the vehicles.”
Not only is the chemical damaging to cars, it could potentially pose a real risk to pedestrians as well. Lindquist said he once touched the substance when it was still wet.
“It took the skin off of four of my 10 fingers by the next morning,” he said.
Lindquist says there is no question that he’s being targeted, since a car he drives has been hit even while parked at the gym. He also thinks he knows who might be doing it.
Despite mounting frustration over the lacking police response, Lindquist insisted that he does not find fault with the individual officers.
“I’m not criticizing the police. Police and firefighters are heroes. I’m criticizing the system,” he said. “If I can’t even get a detective out to investigate a half a million dollar crime, how much success is the average person going to have on a house burglary, on a shed burglary?”