Several Bigfork establishments suffered property damage in an apparent vandalism spree during the early morning hours of July 21.
According to Flathead County sheriff Chuck Curry, the vandals struck sometime between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Thursday morning.
A large statue and several flower pots were broken in front of Bjorge Gallery on Electric Avenue. At nearby Persimmon Gallery, a bird bath was thrown through the front door. According to Curry, the bird bath was taken from property near the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts.
At Viki’s Montana Mtn Classics on Grand Avenue, a 5-foot decorative bear was pushed over, breaking a bird bath in front of the business.
Two wooden picnic tables in the playground area at Bigfork Elementary and Middle School were destroyed, and the windshield of a van parked near Bigfork High School was broken.
Curry did not have an exact estimate of the cost of the damage, but he said it would likely come out to be “several thousand dollars.”
“It doesn’t take a long time for a group of two, or three, or four people to do quite a bit of damage,” Curry said.
The incident is the latest in a slew of unsolved cases of vandalism in the Bigfork area. Other recent targets include the concession stand at the high school football field, a Filterra water treatment unit on Grand Drive and an art case on Grand Drive displaying work by Tom Lewis.
Curry said Thursday’s episode is likely related to the prior acts of vandalism.
“Usually when you have a string of vandalism like this, they’re related,” Curry said. “It’s just a matter of getting your hands on them, which we’re working pretty hard to do.”
Although the department is not ruling anyone out, Curry said the vandals are most likely youths.
“They seem like kid crimes,” Curry said.
Bigfork superintendent Cynthia Clary said lack of supervision might be to blame.
“It’s the time of year when kids have extra energy and extra time on their hands, with no school and no sports,” Clary said. “Also, I think that during the summer, the level of supervision is different.”
Clary said she is disheartened by this summer’s spike in acts of vandalism, especially if Bigfork students are involved.
“It’s so disappointing when something like this happens,” Clary said. “This handful of kids doesn’t represent Bigfork school kids, and that’s what upsets me the most.”
The school district is already working on improving its video surveillance system at the football field (see page B1), but Clary said last week’s incident has led to talks of installing more cameras on the main campus as well.
“It (the security system) needs to be upgraded,” Clary said.
Anyone with information regarding the vandalism is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 758-5585.