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Man arrested in vandalism downtown

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, at 12:09 a.m.

A 29-year-old man was arrested Wednesday evening after a rash of vandalism involving downtown buildings earlier in the day — among them a police substation and the Scottish Rite Center.

A witness called 911 and reported a man had thrown a rock through the community policing office at 321 North Mead in Old Town about 9:30 p.m., authorities said.

"We got a great description" of the suspect from the caller, Lt. Doug Nolte said Thursday.

An officer responding to the call spotted the man walking along East Central, and he was arrested shortly after 9:30 p.m.

Investigators then noted numerous reports of businesses where a brick or rock had been thrown through a window earlier Thursday.

Among the places victimized was the Scottish Rite Center at 332 E. First St., which had three windows broken, said Lisa Sparks, event coordinator assistant.

Surveillance cameras at the center caught the vandalism on video, Nolte said, and it showed the same man was responsible for the damage.

It was the seventh time in the past two months that vandals had broken windows at the center, Sparks said.

News of the arrest brought a sense of relief to staff members at the center, which has lost five stained glass windows to vandalism during this outbreak, she said.

The stained glass windows are being replaced, Sparks said, and they will be shielded with bullet-proof Plexiglass.

Investigators are checking to see whether the same man committed other vandalism in the downtown area. They occurred at:

* Athena Jewelry, 219 E. Douglas

* Salvation Army, 350 N. Market

* The Garvey Center, 200 W. Douglas

* Intrust Bank, 105 N. Main

* Stewarts Jewelry, 415 E. Douglas

Because of the number of cases and the cumulative value of damage, Nolte said, the man could face a felony charge.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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