Okanagan Spirits Distillery, a Vernon-based family business, had its Kelowna location vandalized late last night. And despite the boarded-up windows, the owners wanted to reassure clientele the store is, in fact, open to serve.
Jeremie Dyck said an alleged intoxicated teen threw a rock through a small window adjacent to the main entrance shortly after midnight on Wednesday, cutting himself upon entry.
Kelowna RCMP media spokesman Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said at 12:33 a.m., Wednesday morning, police were alerted of a break and enter in progress.
The suspect, a 15-year-old West Kelowna youth, had kicked a hole in the glass of the front door and climbed into the distillery, O’Donaghey said.
“Once inside, the youth reportedly smashed items within the distillery, before smashing the front window to exit the business,” O’Donaghey said.
“Some homeless Good Samaritans grabbed the kid as he came out of the store and held him until police arrived and then they bolted,” Dyck said. “Police said this is common as many downtown have outstanding warrants.”
This is the second act of senseless vandalism in less than two months, Jeremie said. A month ago, an outdoor planter was thrown through the store’s window.
“We appreciate people’s ongoing support by supporting their local distillery,” he said.
CEO and head of operations Tyler Dyck said he has had better mornings.
“I don’t usually get up at 1 a.m. to clean up broken glass,” he said, noting the job was finished at around 9 a.m.
“This was just some delinquent kid hanging out with his buddies out front and they decided to break in and vandalize the place,” Tyler said.
Tyler said he estimates around $8,000 to $10,000 in damages that will most likely have to come out of pocket.
“It doesn’t show off Kelowna very well,” Tyler said. “Kelowna has been showing itself off pretty poorly with its huge spike in crime and petty theft.”
Tyler said he would like to see the City of Kelowna step up and acknowledge there is a problem.
“This situation is really a victim of the city not taking the downtown issue seriously.”
“Random acts like this just make me say, ‘Oh, come on.’ It’s a waste of my time and everyone’s time,” he added.
The West Kelowna youth was taken into custody near the scene, Cpl. O’Donaghey said. But he was released on conditions into the care of a guardian.
The youth is expected to appear in court in December and he may face charges.
Any witnesses of the incident are urged to come forward to Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.