BY JANE McINNIS
Different accounts of cars being keyed at Blackhawk Plaza have been swirling around since early this year, but the actual number of damaged cars is a figure no one can pinpoint.
"There are an awful lot of rumors to how long this has been going on," said Lt. Dan Hoffman, Chief of Police for the Blackhawk Police Department. "It's not been happening for 2 years type of thing, and if it was, it was never reported to us."
Since January 2012, there have been 14 incidents of cars being keyed at the plaza reported to police. The majority of the vandalism has been to luxury cars parked in front of Crunch Gym.
Hoffman says there's a possibility people aren't notifying the police when their cars are keyed; at a meeting held in April, there were discrepancies of how many cars had been keyed between Blackhawk Police, Crunch Gym and the plaza.
John Kikes, 59, of Danville, has had three of his cars keyed in front of Crunch Gym since last year.
The cars were all keyed in a similar fashion--a deep, fine mark that swoops the span of the automobile, as if someone had dragged a box-cutter alongside the parked vehicle.
The first car that was keyed was his BMW, but Kikes figured it was a "random deal," and didn't report it to the police. Months later, his wife's Mercedes was keyed, which Kikes also didn't report to police.
Kikes, who is a Crunch Gym member, complained to the plaza and questioned Blackhawk management as to why there weren't any security cameras at the shopping center to catch the culprit.
Kikes noticed security guards keeping watch in front of the gym afterward, but said they seemed "more interested in the apps on their phones than paying attention to what's going on in the parking lot."
It wasn't until the third incident that Kikes filed a report to the police. In June, he was driving his black Ferrari home and decided to stop by the gym for a work-out.
He parked in the first row in front of the gym, and saw a security guard out front.
While inside, he heard that a few cars had been keyed in the parking lot.
"I walk out and there's a bunch of people and sure enough, the front fender to rear panel had been keyed," he said.
A Porsche parked next to Kikes' car had also been keyed, he said.
The deductible for the vehicle damage was covered by the plaza after months of back-and-forth, but his request for cameras went unanswered, he said.
Kikes said he was told that Crunch Gym had been keeping a list of cars being keyed for the plaza, which exceeded 30 incidents.
When Crunch Gym was questioned for comment on the issue and incident list, they recognized that the company was speaking to the plaza about the issue, but that there was "nothing for Crunch to comment on further at this time."
Blackhawk Plaza maintains they've received the same number of reports as the police have: 14.
Kikes is audibly bewildered as to what's preventing the plaza from getting cameras installed, and called the whole situation of security at the high-end plaza "ironic."
"No one's doing anything," he said. "It's like they don't care what's happening to anyone's car, as long as they're spending money [at the plaza]."
When called to be interviewed about the matter, General Manager of Blackhawk, Veronica Curley, requested the questions be sent in an email.
Here are the following questions and answers:
I've heard from Crunch Gym and some victims that there's been an ongoing issue with nicer cars being keyed in the plaza in front of the gym. When I spoke to Lt. Hoffman, he reported 14 cases of cars being keyed reported to the police department since January 2012. How many cases has the plaza notified about over the last two years? Has it been an ongoing issue from the plaza's perspective?
All known cases have been reported to the Sheriff’s Department. The safety and security of the Blackhawk Plaza customer is our primary concern.
What has the plaza done for security since the keying reports?
Blackhawk Plaza works closely with the Sheriff’s Department who have expanded police efforts at the Plaza. The Plaza has extensive security measures in place that include 24-hour security, mobile patrols as well as posted security. We cannot go into detail about our security efforts since this is an on-going police investigation and would compromise police efforts.
Lt. Hoffman informed me that you facilitated a meeting between Crunch Gym and the Blackhawk police in April. Is this correct? If so, could you explain what was discussed?
We have regularly scheduled strategic meetings to discuss trends in the community as part of an on-going effort to provide a safe and secure environment for our merchants and customers.
I've heard there are no cameras in the plaza, but Lt. Hoffman said he made a recommendation to you earlier this year that cameras would greatly help the issue out. Is the plaza looking to install cameras? If not, why? If so, when?
Although we have a comprehensive security program in place, we are not at liberty to discuss details of our program since it would compromise our security efforts and the police investigation.
As of early October, there appears to be no cameras at Blackhawk Plaza.
The plaza facilitated a meeting on the issue when the vandalism spike occurred in April, where Blackhawk Police recommended the plaza get security cameras installed.
"I don't run a business so I don't know what kind of red tape there is [that the plaza] can't get this done," Hoffman said.
Whatever the security the plaza put in place was, it could be working. The last reported keying in Blackhawk Plaza was July 15, 2013.
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.Write a new post...What do you want to share?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something