The BB gun vandals have advanced from hitting cars to hitting people.
The San Leandro Police Department is asking the public to help them identify a group of suspects who have been vandalizing hundreds of cars in San Leandro and neighboring cities. All told, the damage to property has exceeded $60,000, police said.
A slew of shootings has led the police to believe the brazen group of suspects is now targeting people.
“This is becoming dangerous,” said Lt. Robert McManus. “Windows can be replaced. However, these suspects have become violent since they’ve begun to shoot at people.”
On March 24 at about 10 p.m., the vandals shot off rounds of BBs at a group of workers milling about on their break in the 900 block of Montague St. Then, at 10:30 p.m, aresident in the 400 block of Begier Avenue told police that his car’s rear window had been shot out.
When police inspected the broken window, they determined the likely weapon used to be a BB gun.
About an hour later, an automatic alarm at Knop’s Upholstery Shop alerted police to a possible break in. When officers arrived on scene, they discovered the front window to be riddled with a BB hole.
The crimes continued on the evening of March 25, police said.
At approximately 8 p.m., a 29-year-old man was standing outside a bar on the 14500 block of E. 14th St. when passengers inside a silver Toyota 4-Runner with black wheels fired at him. Police say one of the BBs lodged itself into the man’s arm, requiring surgical removal.
The escalating crimes has surprised community members, who say this is out of character for the place that they call home.
"It does make me scared," said Peter Rydell, a resident of San Leandro. "You never know when they're going to be shooting at us."
Resident Dean Jones echoed Rydell's sentiments.
"You can really hurt someone, or you could cause an accident or someone could get killed," he said. "It's crazy."
A few hours later, 49-year-old man leaving a church on Bancroft Avenue reported a passengers from a Toyota 4-Runner driving past him and striking him in the head with a BB, police said.
The last case, according to police, happened just after 10:16 p.m. when a man at a bus stop on the 14100 block of E. 14th St said he was hit by a BB. The man described a car similar to the Toyota 4Runner, police said.
Police are asking anyone with information to call them at (510) 577-2740.