A man with a hammer was spotted smashing some glass panes of Calgary’s Peace Bridge on Sunday morning, police say.
Police received a call around 4:15 a.m. Sunday of a man vandalizing the Peace Bridge, Staff Sgt. John Guigon told CBC News.
Guigon said police did chase the man on foot but lost him.
The only description police have of the suspect is of a 40 to 45-year-old male wearing grey jeans. Guigon said the man may have had a shopping cart at one point, but police did not see one when they arrived on scene.
Police do have some surveillance footage of the scene, Guigon said. Their investigation into the incident is active and ongoing.
Guigon said vandalism happens around the city regularly, but this event was unusual.
“There’s been other vandalisms on that bridge in the past, but not to the same level as this one,” he said.
Guigon said police have promising leads in their investigation and he thinks the case “may be solvable.”
“Really it’s probably a person abusing drugs or alcohol, I suspect, is what it comes down to, or [someone] experiencing some sort of emotional crisis and acting out.”
Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong said about 80 per cent of the bridge’s side panels have been damaged.
He said repairs will be “extremely expensive.” The city already spends roughly $80,000 a year to remove and replace broken panels on the Peace Bridge.
Wong said there are extra panels in stock to replace the smashed glass, but he is unsure if there is enough supply to cover the extent of damage this incident caused. The timeline for fixing the damage is not known at this point, according to Wong.
An ongoing problem
In June, the city announced it had hired a consultant to find alternative material options to the bridge’s glass panels. Recommendations are expected in the fall.
About a month ago, the city also put up posters on the bridge to discourage vandalism.
“Whether that’s made a difference or not I think it’s a little early to say,” Wong said about the posters.
“I think we need to get the message out … that these assets are very much cherished by all Calgarians and tourists and visitors.”
Wong said he encourages people to report any acts of vandalism they observe.
Coming out of pandemic restrictions, there are a lot more people enjoying the city’s parks and outdoor venues, according to Wong.
“We hate to destroy that enjoyment by having people destroy the amenities that we pay a lot of taxes for.”
Wong said there are measures the city could look at to enhance security at the bridge, including more video surveillance or adding emergency call buttons people could press if they spot an act of vandalism.