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Originally published Monday, June 13, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Rash of window smashing hits Belltown businesses

In the past week, Seattle's Belltown neighborhood has been targeted by vandals who hurl bricks and liquor bottles into plate-glass windows. So far, five businesses — including an Italian restaurant that's been hit twice, the second time early Monday — have been dealt splintering blows to their storefronts.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Last summer, it was all about the graffiti taggers in Belltown. This summer could become the season of the window smashers.

In the past week, the Seattle neighborhood has been targeted by vandals who hurled bricks and liquor bottles into plate glass. So far, five businesses — including an Italian restaurant that's been hit twice, the second time early Monday — have been dealt splintering blows to their storefronts.

A West Precinct detective has been assigned the case, said Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson.

"There have been six reports of property damage in Belltown in the past week," Jamieson said.

All the incidents have occurred at night or in early morning, and police have only "a very limited suspect description," he said.

Three incidents were reported last Tuesday. The fourth came Wednesday and the fifth occurred Thursday.

The suspect or suspects — perhaps knowing that Seattle police are out in force in the neighborhood on Friday and Saturday nights as part of the city's late-night emphasis patrols — apparently took a couple days off.

But just after midnight Monday, there was another report of broken windows at Branzino, an Italian restaurant in the 2400 block of Second Avenue that was among the businesses hit a week ago.

"It seems totally random," said Tim Gaydos, president of the Belltown Business Association, on Monday. "To have six in a week is super frustrating and discouraging."

A pastor at Mars Hill Church in Belltown, Gaydos recalled last summer when taggers spray-painted "ZEB" throughout the neighborhood. Two adults and two juveniles were arrested in connection with the graffiti spree that also extended into other neighborhoods, including Ballard and Lower Queen Anne.

"We totally got nailed," he said of the tagging.

"This is the same kind of thing," Gaydos said of the window smashers. "It's like, 'OK, this sucks. C'mon, really?' "

Throwing bottles and bricks seems more violent, however, and Gaydos hopes the suspects were caught on video-surveillance tapes that have been turned over to police.

Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or sgreen@seattletimes.com

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