Seven vehicle windshields were broken and a glass door of the Gallo Center for the Arts was heavily scratched when a man went on a vandalism spree with a rock in downtown Modesto on Tuesday afternoon.
Police say Edgar Alvarez, a 24-year-old transient out of Newman, started around 1:30 p.m. by scratching a front door of the Gallo Center, on I Street between 10th and 11th.
Alvarez first came into the lobby of the center and was just roaming around for a couple of minutes, said CEO Lynn Dickerson, who watched surveillance video of what happened. Another man outside on the center’s plaza was much more animated, jumping around and appearing to want to egg Alvarez into a fight, she said. “That guy on the plaza would run up to the doors and have his fist out, then run back.”
Alvarez soon went outside, grabbed a rock from a flower bed and used it to scratch the door before running off to break the windshields, she said. Whether the other man already had left was unclear, but apparently there was no fight between the two.
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Dickerson posted on her Facebook page that she was “sad, mad, discouraged, disgusted” by the attack on the center. The Gallo Center will press charges, she told The Bee, because the damage to the door was about $2,500, above the threshold of the crime being a misdemeanor. “I think all of us who are victims need to press charges, because when you add this all up, it becomes significant. This guy needs to be in jail.”
Too often, Dickerson said, the criminal population downtown commits petty theft and misdemeanor vandalism, but downtown businesses routinely are plagued by things like broken and scratched windows and tagged walls.
Moving on from the Gallo Center, Alvarez allegedly smashed three windshields of vehicles parked near the corner of 11th and I, before entering the city garage on 11th between I and J streets. There, he broke four more windshields. Owners of those vehicles face replacement costs of likely a few hundred dollars each.
Throughout, he was yelling and making little sense, witnesses told officers, said Modesto Police Department spokeswoman Sharon Bear. In a video taken at the garage by a Downtown Modesto Partnership employee, it sounds like Alvarez is shouting at people who confronted him, “You are not a human,” “Shut up,” “Get away from me” and “I was loyal.”
Alvarez still was carrying the rock when police officers caught up with him, Bear said, and he faces charges of resisting arrest along with felony vandalism. There is no indication in the report, she said, that the suspect was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.