Police working to identify man vandalizing local businesses
COLUMBIA - Police are working to identify a man who threw rocks at and broke the windows of a funeral home, barber shop and church in Columbia.
The most recent vandalism incident happened at JT's Cutz Barber Shop on Saturday night around 9:30 p.m.
Barber shop owner Maurice Strickland said police were driving by the barber shop and noticed broken windows, so they called Strickland to tell him, find out more about these incidents and help him clean up the mess.
Strickland said the barber shop has been hit four times now. After the first incident, Strickland installed cameras. Every time the man has returned, the pictures on the camera have been blurry or just missed the activity. On Saturday, the cameras captured a clear view of the man and Strickland hopes someone will recognize him.
Strickland said he knows a sheriff that drives by the barber shop at night to monitor suspicious activity.
The unknown man first hit H.T. May and Son Funeral Home on August 29, breaking one front window. The vandalism progressed, and the man returned to the funeral home three times after that. The last time he was there, he broke four company van windows and increased his broken window count to seven, according to owner Thomas May.
“They have no consideration for people going through a mourning period,” May said. “That individual cares nothing for other people.”
The man also threw rocks into windows at St. Paul A.M.E. on Park Avenue; that vandalism was discovered on August 31.
Strickland and May think the person throwing the rocks has been the same in every incident. They said the rocks found at each scene have been almost identical.
Once the man is identified and found, he will be arrested for property damage, according to the Columbia Police Department.
The amount of damage will determine whether it will be a misdemeanor or felony.
The barber shop and funeral home's cases are being investigated separate from each other and the charges will also be separate.