Downtown Columbia businesses vandalized
Lakota Coffee on 9th street was vandalized around 1:45 a.m. on April 18.
The vandal broke the glass in the front door and both front windows. They also threw red oil paint across Lakota's awning.
General Manager Andrew Ducharme says police were dispatched to the store after a 9-1-1 call came in just before 4:00 a.m.
"It's just sad that somebody decided to vandalize downtown," Ducharme said. "Coffee Zone got hit last week, we got hit this week. Hopefully the police can get out on the street and stop whoever it is."
Leigh Lockhart is the owner of Main Squeeze, located just two doors down from Lakota. The glass at the front of her store has been broken three times. She said the increase in people living in the downtown area has created both positive and negative effects on local business owners.
"We are busier now… but we all are getting more and more nervous about the crime rate down here," Lockhart said. "We all just want to live in a town where we feel safe and protected. And as this town grows, we need to make a plan to deal with the result of what, I assume, is just more people living downtown."
Lockhart said she wishes the Columbia Police Department was more present in the downtown area at night.
But Sergeant Joe Bernhard says the department isn't able to provide more officers.
"Even if we doubled the amount of officers working at that time we still couldn't be everywhere all the time," Bernard said. "Our staffing levels are set by our budget, so we can only have the resources we have."
Anyone with information on the vandalism at Lakota can call Crimestoppers, the police department's anonymous hotline, at 875-TIPS.