In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Jan. 15, Port Washington North and Manorhaven were hit with vandalism on an unprecedented level with the intentional breaking of dozens of car windows. The damage was estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Assistant Chief James Salerno of the Port Washington Police Department confirmed that 20 vehicles, 14 from Wildwood Gardens and six from Sands Point Boulevard were damaged in Port Washington North. Chief Salerno said the objects used to break the windows might have included a BB gun, pipe or other blunt instrument, which did not cause sufficient noise to alert neighboring residents. These attacks occurred the early morning hours prior to 5:30 a.m. The Port police gathered some information regarding the time of occurrence from a passerby, near Wildwood Gardens who was out smoking a cigarette.
Chief Salerno pointed out that during winter months, windows are normally closed and the noise of a smashed car window could go unnoticed. Residents of the area where vandals have struck are urged to be on the alert for prowlers, especially during the early morning hours. The Port police are stepping up patrols in the area, working in conjunction with the Nassau County Police Department, patrolling in unmarked cars and investigating through Port detectives.
In Manorhaven, 20 cars parked on Edgewood and Ashwood Roads had their windows broken. The vandals are believed to have walked along these streets and smashed the cars parked in the roadway. Nassau police reported nothing was taken from the cars, but some cars had multiple windows smashed. Port News spoke with Police Officer Thomas Blanchard from the press office of Nassau County's 6th Precinct, which covers Manorhaven, who would say only that the matter is under investigation. Blanchard would not comment on the steps under way to apprehend the perpetrators or prevent a recurrence, saying to do so could interfere with the investigation by revealing police tactics.
A longtime resident of Port Washington who wishes to remain anonymous, said that the incident was similar to one which occurred in December 2006, when over two dozen car windows were smashed in Wildwood, Soundview, Carlton and Rossa Gardens. In this latest act of vandalism, he said that there were numerous auto glass repair trucks in the vicinity of Wildwood Gardens and that the Port police needed most of the day to complete their reports. He said vandalism causes a great deal of anxiety to residents fearing for their safety and on the streets. Some found it necessary to rent a car for the period of time the vehicles are being repaired.
Port News stopped at a local automobile glass replacement shop, where a spokesman said business was normally very active. He noticed very little additional business since the vandalism occurred and offered no further comment.
The last major incident of vandalism in Port occurred over a one-week period in December 2006 when over two-dozen automobile windows were broken in Manorhaven. At that time, the damage was estimated at between 7 and $26,000. No one has been arrested or charged in that incident. Incidents of criminal mischief to automobiles have not been a major problem in Port during the last quarter of 2007. There were only seven incidents reported from October 1 through December 31.
Anyone with information on this latest act of vandalism is asked to call crime stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.