Staff at Westcoast Home Hardware in Port Alberni woke up to a cruel April Fool’s Day joke on Monday morning.
Hundreds of bags of topsoil and potting soil had been torn open and spread across the front of the store in what owner Jan Lavertu is calling a “malicious” act of vandalism.
The destruction was discovered by a staff member at around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, April 1 just before the store on Johnston Road opened. Lavertu said that pallets of bags had been “cut from top to bottom” and the contents “thrown around” and spread out in front of the entrance.
According to RCMP, the act happened sometimebetween 10 p.m. and midnight.
Lavertu said he is especially disappointed since the destruction appears to be random.
“There was no purpose,” he said. “Nothing was stolen.”
RCMP were called and investigated and identified a set of footprints at the scene of the crime. Although Westcoast Home Hardware does not have video surveillence, they are working with neighbouring businesses to get video of the area.
Westcoast Home Hardware was formerly located on Third Avenue, but moved to its current location on Johnston Road 13 years ago.
“We’ve had [the bags] outside this whole time,” Lavertu said. “This is something that’s never happened to us in 13 years, so we’re pretty disappointed.”
Lavertu estimated that the damages amount to around $500-$600. The spilled soil outside the store took around four and a half hours to clean up.
According to RCMP, a small group of youth was seen in the area on their scooters a short time prior to this incident. The police are asking these youth to contact the police and inform them of what they might have seen.
Anyone who witnessed the crime or has information about who is responsible can contact Cst. Wasylien of the Port Alberni RCMP at 250-723-2424.