A rock thrown through a window of the Merritt Library shut the branch down for an entire day as staff cleaned up the damage left behind Thursday.
The library’s alarm went off at midnight between Wednesday and Thursday, according to library branch head Deborha Merrick.
“It was like an explosion,” she says.
A library employee, notified by an automated call from the alarm system, arrived at the scene about 10 minutes later, followed shortly by the police.
There, they found several dents on the tops of the front doors, most likely from rocks. A rock about the size of a fist had also been thrown through a window on the north side of the building, near the entrance.
Remarkably, the rock that broke the window smashed two panes of glass, sailed over display bookshelves and chairs until it dented the front counter 10 metres (33 feet) away, according to Merrick. The rock then bounced another 9 metres (30 feet) before coming to a rest. It did not hit any objects besides the window and counter.
Merrick says that she is unsure of whether one vandal acted alone or there was a group, but notes, “At least one of them was really, really strong.
“He hit the window so hard that it exploded outwards.”
There are no security cameras either inside or outside the building.
The branch was closed for all of Thursday as staff shampooed the carpets and shook out glass dust from books on the shelves.
“It’s the cleanup that takes…up most of our energy.
“There was glass right up to my door,” says Merrick, pointing to her office on the opposite end of the library from the broken window.
Merrick says that the suspect could not enter the library since about a third of the glass from the broken window still formed a ring of shards around the frame.
“Luckily, he wasn’t able to get in, though he did try ‘cause there was blood on the window.
“The shard that was still in the frame had a boot print on it.”
The library opened again with its regular hours Friday morning.
Merrick asks why anyone would try to break into the library, since any items inside are freely available for the public to borrow, anyway.
“We certainly don’t have any money on hand. We get nickels and dimes (from overdue fines),” she says.
There was a break-in at the library about a year ago, and another several years before that, but they are rare, says Merrick.
“It’s often thoughtless vandalism. They saw some rocks and the bright lights and just hucked them through the windows.”
Still, Merrick is willing to forgive. She says that in a past case, the vandals were caught and ended up working for the library and becoming friends with the staff.
“I encourage this fellow to come back during the day.”
Merritt RCMP Const. Tracy Dunsmore says police collected a DNA swab from the scene, but it is unlikely to yield a match.
“The only way we’ll get something back is if their DNA is on file.”
The damage to the library is one of several incidents involving windows broken with rocks this month.
The other targets were Davis Leathers, Purity Feeds, and Coquihalla Middle School.
The suspect actually entered Purity Feeds after breaking a window just before midnight on March 15, but the business did not leave any cash in the register and none of the stock appeared to be stolen, says Dunsmore.