EDMONTON- Two self-described photographers who have previously claimed to be working on a book featuring photos of Edmontonians at bus stops have now been arrested in connection with smashing the windows of dozens of city bus shelters last month.
A recent crime spree destroyed the windows of more than 70 bus shelters as well as windows in over a dozen homes and vehicles. Most of the destruction occurred between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21 but more bus shelters were targeted on Feb. 26. Most of the incidents occurred in northeast Edmonton.
On Sunday, police charged 38-year-old Cynthia Elizabeth Zambrano with 21 counts of mischief under $5,000, two counts of mischief over $5,000 and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and causing a child to be in need of intervention.
Leonardo Antonio Autera, 55, has also been charged with 21 counts of mischief under $5,000, two counts mischief over $5,000 and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Police said they believe the pair used slingshot marbles to cause the damage.
In November, the Edmonton Examiner published an article in which Autera and Zambrano were interviewed about an art project they said they were working on. The pair told the Examiner they were photographing Edmontonians at bus stops.
Police said the cost of cleaning up and repairing the damage was estimated to be about $30,000.
“Well, we get vandalism,” Ward 4 councillor Ed Gibbons said. “But when you start getting 71, what’s really driving the person to do the vandalism like that? I mean, 71 like that is just above and beyond – all taxpayers have to pay for this.”
One resident impacted by the senseless destruction said it was more frustrating than anything to learn his truck was targeted.
“When I backed out, I noticed the driver side window of my truck had been smashed out and as I was driving down the street to go to work, I noticed several piles of glass along the right-hand side of the street,” Bill Williams said.
At this point, police have not confirmed whether all of the vandalism incidents were connected. On Friday, police said they believed the suspects in the Feb. 26 incidents were driving a red Dodge Caravan.
Autera and Zambrano are expected to appear in court on Friday.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
With files from Shallima Maharaj