>Vandals destroy downtown Asheville storefronts, car windows



May 4, 2010


ASHEVILLE — Most of those arrested for a rash of vandalism Saturday night in downtown Asheville listed addresses in Eastern North Carolina and out of state, according to arrest warrants.

Only two listed an Asheville address. At least five of the suspects appear to be students at colleges including UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Asheville, Alamance Community College and Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt. The suspects ages ranged from 17-26.

All but one of the 11 suspects arrested were each charged with seven counts of misdemeanor injury to personal property and three counts of injury to real property. Each was being held under $10,000 bond. One man was charged with 11 counts and had an $11,000 bond. All are scheduled to appear in court on the charges Monday morning.

Those charged include:
– Randall Duncan Stezer, 17, of Graham, N.C.
– Wyatt Sherman Allgeier, 19, of Mount Pleasant, N.C.
– Karen Leigh Alderser, 19, of Carrboro.
-Alissa Marie Batzold, 18, of Carrboro.
-Havely Carolyn Carsky, 23, of Meadow Lake Road, Asheville.
-Nicholas Ryan Entwistle, 19, of Kansas City, Mo.
-Naomi Rachel Ullian, 26, of West Chestnut St., Asheville.
-Marshall Rogers Tingler, 24, of Oklahoma City, Okla.
– Daniel Heinz Regenfcheit, 26, of Carrboro.
-Cailin Elizabth Major, 25, of Milwaukee, Wis.
-Jordan M. Ferrand-Sapsis, 24, of Oklahoma City, Okla.

About 10:45 p.m. Saturday, a group of between 20-30 people wearing dark clothing, some wearing masks and carrying backpacks, threw items, including newspaper boxes, through windows of several businesses along O’Henry Avenue. A front window of the Asheville Citizen-Times was shattered, as were multiple storefronts at the Grove Arcade. An ATM was smashed at the RBC on O’Henry.

Multiple cars parked on Battery Park had their windows smashed.

The violence is likely linked to the observance of May Day, a day for marking worker solidarity that has been seized upon for anti-capitalism displays of violence, especially by self-proclaimed anarchist groups in Europe.
Several in the group yelled unintelligably as they vandalized. The group walked south on O’Henry Avenue and turned left on Battery Park Avenue. Some walked through the alley beside the Citizen-Times, where several employees of the paper had rushed to ensure the safety of their cars.

Carmel’s chef Mary Scherger said she was having a shift drink at the Page Avenue restaurant when she saw the group smash out a window on a BMW parked along Battery Park Avenue.

“That’s when I yelled for my manager to come out,” she said.

Scherger said she saw some of them run toward Haywood Street and a few run up the stairwell from Wall Street parking garage ditching their garb as police moved in.
Scherger said she recalled a similar act of group vandalism last year, but the group did far less damage.

Diana Kostigen, of Hendersonville, was visiting downtown with a friend from Charlotte, whose car was damaged.

“I just feel really disappointed because it’s always felt like a really safe town,” she said

“With people coming from out of town, it might be their first experience in Asheville and they have this happen. It’s really heartbreaking to see that they might have damage to their car to such great extent.”

“I’ve never seen any kind of violence like this in Asheville at all. I’m very shocked, very disappointed, and feeling like I wouldn’t even want to come downtown after 9 o’clock.”

When asked if she might feel unsafe in downtown now, Kostigen said yes.

Christina Williams said she was with friends at Carmel’s when the cacophony of smashing glass, yelling and tumult erupted.

She watched as a bewildered man talked to a Police Department officer beside his seriously damaged car.

“Violence and cowardice,” Williams said, noting that several of the vandals removed their masks and black outer clothing and tossed it away after committing their crimes.

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