The Yellowknife RCMP are investigating a report of multiple vehicles allegedly spray painted in a downtown parking lot over the weekend that included depictions of the Black Lives Matter acronym.
Julie Plourde, media spokesperson with the Yellowknife RCMP stated in an email that a report came in to police at about 11:03 a.m. on Sunday morning involving more than one vehicle “in the area of 50 Avenue and 49 Street.”
“Yellowknife RCMP have started an investigation and no charges have been laid,” Plourde stated.
Police were asked if graffiti involving Black Lives Matter and other writings were noticed by police and where specifically the incident occurred, but RCMP did not answer Monday.
RCMP stated in another news release on Tuesday that there were two separate incidents of vandalism over the weekend – the first occurred between the evening of Saturday, July 4th and the morning of Sunday, July 5. The second incident is believed to have happened Monday, July 6, between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.
Staff Sgt Yannick Hamel, operations manager for Yellowknife RCMP stated that police are seeking public assistance for both instances.
“If anyone witnessed suspicious activity in the area of 50 Avenue and 49 Street, between Saturday evening and Monday morning, we are asking they contact Yellowknife RCMP at 669-1111,” Hamel stated.
NNSL Media was provided the contents of a letter that was emailed to parking tenants from Bridget Watton, property administrator with Colliers International, the property manager at Centre Square Mall.
When Watton was contacted by telephone, she said she was unaware that a letter had been sent out to residents as she is on holidays and not in Yellowknife.
“It is with deep regret that we have to inform our tenants that during the nights/early morning of July 6 and 7, 2020 the Centre Square Mall Lower Parkade has met with two incidents of vandalism,” states the letter.
“During thorough inspection of the damage it was noted that several vehicles were spray painted and property in the parkade was also vandalized as well. The RCMP have been contacted and they have been on (site) to view the damage, they have taken pictures of the damage and a file has been opened.”
The letter states that the property managers are cooperating with the RCMP in the investigation.
“All tenants of the parkade are requested to ensure that their vehicle doors are locked at all times and there are no valuables left in the vehicle while parked in the parkade,” states the letter. “For the safety of all parking tenants you are also asked to make sure when entering the parkade at all times to please ensure that the doors close behind you and that no one gains access/tail gates behind your vehicle upon entry to the parkade.”
Carol-Ann Colpitts, property manager with Colliers declined comment when reached on Monday.
Thom Jarvis, a long-time resident at the Northern Heights condominium said that he and his wife Cindy first saw the parking lot on Sunday morning after a neighbour pointed out the vandalism. At the time, Jarvis stated that he noticed there were at least three vehicles were spray painted as well as the pavement and walls.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with (Black Lives Matter),” Jarvis said, admitting that it was a bit strange seeing the spray paint of the organization’s acronym. “We have had an issue here with people sneaking into the garage and breaking into cars.”
Although to enter the parkade, one has to have a key to enter the door, Jarvis said it is quite possible that people who don’t belong in the building are able to tailgate or sneak into the area as the garage door slowly closes.
“It could have been much worse,” Jarvis said, noting that he didn’t personally suffer any property damage. “I don’t know if they ran out of paint but they had free reign.”
Jarvis said the last few weeks have been particularly troublesome with people drinking and loitering around the entrance way of the parkade and in some cases “tip-toeing in” after tailgating vehicles inside.
Gerri Saville, a resident at the condo since 2007, had her 1971 Volkswagen Beetle defaced on multiple spots of her vehicle. She estimates there were four others that faced similar vandalism.
“I initially thought they just got the back but then they put a smiley face on the front and the side, which I noticed when I came back to look at it the second night,” she said.
“Insurance is covering it because I have comprehensive insurance, but the parkade won’t do anything for us. You have sign a waiver (when you rent a space) that they are not responsible for damages.”