Of the 11 people charged in last Saturday’s vandalism spree, all but two have been released. Much of the damage is repaired, while the Asheville Police Department continues its investigation.
Except for Nicholas Entwistle, 19, of Kansas City, Mo. and Daniel Regenscheit, 26, of Carrboro, all of the suspects have made bail and have been released from the Buncombe County Detention Facility. Judge Dennis Redwing raised the bonds of all suspects during their arraignments to $92,000 (one suspect, Asheville resident Naomi Ullian, who had already bonded out on some of the charges, got a $42,000 bond).
Walking around the damaged area, one sees little signs of the rampage: most of the broken glass has been replaced. The response of at least one local business damaged last weekend seems to be humor. Paul Endry, owner of the Eye Center in the grove Arcade — which sustained several thousands of dollars in damage when a rock broke through his shop’s glass doors — is trying to make the best of a bad situation by offering a half-off “Glass Blowout Sale.”
And as for what he thinks of the vandals themselves? “I’m ready to forgive and forget if they’ll pay for the damage, apologize, and explain their motives,” he said.“I hope it was just a random act of goofiness.”
Over at the Grove Arcade Copy Shop, owner Sidney Braverman says the damage to four double-paned windows cost him a $500 deductible to replace.
“I think we got hit the worst — every window, you don’t see it quite as much because they only broke the first pane” he says. “It’s an unneccessary expense, certainly. The whole thing’s utterly ridiculous.”
At a Monday press briefing, Police Chief Bill Hogan called the vandalism “a significant rampage,” adding that “I’m not really sure what message they were trying to send.” He also characterized the suspects as more naive than violent.
“These are not your typical criminals per se. … It’s also a little frustrating,” Hogan said. “You talk about your best and brightest who are attending college, and here they are creating these kind of destructive acts, in some ways probably a little naive to criminal activity. I’m not even sure they realized the magnitude of their acts in terms of some of crimes. … It mystifies me a bit.”
During the briefing, police handed out a document with mugshots of the 11, a map of the damage and a flier for a May Day party in Aston Park. Asked by Xpress if they were explicitly connecting the vandalism to that event, APD spokesperson Melissa Williams would only say, “Our investigation continues to focus on accurately reporting the damage that was caused, identifying the specific criminal acts of the people that were arrested, determining how this event was organized and identifying those participants that were not arrested.”
— David Forbes, senior reporter, with additional reporting from staff reporter Jake Frankel and contributing reporter Michael Muller