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Repeated vandalism may result in removal of TARTA shelters

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    After repeated vandalism to a TARTA shelter at Main Street and Second Street in East Toledo, a sign has been posted saying the stop may be removed if the vandalism continues.

    The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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    The vandalized TARTA bus shelter on Main Street near Fourth Street in East Toledo.

    The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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Repeated vandalism at two East Toledo bus stops prompted the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority to warn the stops’ shelters will be removed if the problem persists.

Multiple signs were affixed Wednesday morning to shelters at the Second Street and Fourth Street stops along Main Street after a large glass pane was broken out Tuesday at the Fourth Street stop’s shelter.

The vandalism marked the fifth time this year that windows have been broken out at either or both of the stops, according to the transit authority.

The damage had cost TAR- TA nearly $3,000 before Tuesday.

A summary provided to The Blade identified nine other locations in Toledo where vandalism repairs this year cost TARTA an additional $1,234.

“[Vandals] do nothing but make it harder for everybody else,” said Phoebe Brown, who boarded a No. 13 Front Street bus headed downtown from the Fourth Street stop Tuesday afternoon.

TARTA officials told the authority’s board of trustees just last week they were contemplating shelter removal at locations with chronic vandalism.

“It tends to be the same locations. We really think it’s the same person,” Stacey Clink, TARTA’s finance director, told the board.

“It’s rare that we remove [bus shelters], but we have done it before,” James Gee, the agency’s general manager, said afterward.

Putting up warning signs has been ineffective at stopping recurring vandalism in the past, Mr. Gee said, but it at least informs the general public ahead of time that a shelter may be removed.

“It’s not the passengers who are vandalizing the shelters,” Mr. Gee said.

Shatterproof plastic has been an unsuitable alternative to glass, Mr. Gee said, because “people scratch it up, so [after a while] it looks terrible.”

In the most recent incident before Tuesday’s problem, someone called police about 11:52 p.m. July 9 to report one to three juveniles breaking windows at the Fourth Street shelter.

An arriving officer found “all of the glass panels of the small enclosure” shattered with an unknown object, but apprehended no one. The police report classified the incident as “criminal damaging” because “it did not meet the criteria for vandalism.”

TARTA estimated damage to that shelter and the one at Second Street, also damaged that day, at $1,625, while damage from three previous incidents — one at Fourth, the others at Second — cost a combined $1,200 to repair.

Citywide, TARTA has 99 of the small shelters at bus stops. The shelters at Fourth and Second streets are the only ones on Main Street.

Contact David Patch at dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.

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