Vandalism concerns business owner

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— When someone threw a rock through a window of Jace Romick's downtown business in October, he shrugged the vandalism off and called police to report the incident.

Months later, Romick said he has reported about a half-dozen incidents, including broken windows on his delivery truck and other acts of vandalism he calls premeditated, malicious and continuous.

"I've picked my brain for six months, thinking of who I could have (angered) that much that someone would continue to hit my store," he said.

Romick moved his store, Romick's Home Collection, into the building at Fourth Street and Lincoln Avenue at the beginning of November. The store replaced Azteca Taqueria and Brooklynn's Pizzeria.

Steamboat Springs Det. Dave Kleiber said the string of vandalism is unlike any he has seen in the city because the attacks likely are not random and seem to target Romick's business.

He said most vandalism in Steamboat is "committed by kids just running around."

"It's pretty obvious (Romick) is being targeted for a reason," he said.

Kleiber said this vandalism is unusual because he is the only business owner who has reported multiple incidents.

"If some kid decided he was going to shoot his BB gun for his jollies, we'd likely find a few cars or buildings that were vandalized. So far, it's just been isolated to his building," he said.

Police do not have any suspects in the case, Kleiber said.

Romick -- a longtime Steamboat resident and businessman -- said he can't believe he has been the victim of so many attacks in the past six months.

"I have to wonder every day when I drive in here, 'What's next?'" he said. "I have to think about what happens if they get courageous and set fire to the place or actually break in."

Romick estimates the vandalism has caused $8,000 in damage.

"Most of the windows that were broken are still broken because I've come to the conclusion of, 'Why fix it if they're just going to be broken again?'" he said. "I'm so discouraged. It kind of takes the wind out of your sails."

Romick said he is considering installing security systems to protect his business.

"I grew up here. I've nearly lived my whole life here. It makes me ill to think that I have to put up a security system. I never thought Steamboat Springs would get to this point," he said. "What have I done to deserve this?"

Kleiber said the acts of vandalism are under investigation. He encouraged anyone with information to call the Steamboat Springs Police Department at 879-4344.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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