For the past two weeks, Summit Mercantile owner Cheryl Snyder has seen signs of trouble.
There were bricks on the street and sidewalk outside of her business on East Marshall Street in downtown Van Alstyne. Many inexplicably seemed to have come from the roof.
She alerted the police, who promised to keep an eye on the area.
On July 3, the police called her after a neighbor reported that her storefront windows had been smashed.
"In order to break the windows they also had to throw from either street level or the sidewalk," she said. "They hit it in two different places and finally got it to break," she said. "I don’t think they were trying to get in and steal anything. I think it was just a meanness thing."
Snyder said this is the first time she has had to deal with crime in downtown Van Alstyne. While she is glad nothing was stolen, she expects the replacement plate glass window will cost several thousand dollars.
Thankfully she has insurance, but she may have do make do with a boarded-up window for a while as she works with the insurance company’s adjuster.
In addition to being concerned about additional property damage, Snyder also worries about the safety of the perpetrator. It would be a long fall from the top of her building, she said, and there are likely other hazards on a roof that is not meant for recreation.
Neighbor Rick Duncan called the police about the Mercantile’s broken window. He’s currently remodeling a building on the same street and said that someone has tried to break his window twice without success over the past two weeks.
"Luckily we didn’t have a window out, but we had a lot of bricks in front of the building," he said.
When Shannon Morgan left her downtown building on July 3, everything seemed fine. When she returned on Monday, she discovered that her air conditioning unit had been destroyed. It appeared that a vehicle had rammed it. The unit is located next to a nearby ally where typically only fellow business owners drive.
"It’s very unfortunate. I’ve been down here for 14 years and have never had anyone vandalize the property," she said. "If it was an accident and someone wants to come forward, we can deal with that, but it just seems like too much of a coincidence with everything else going on."
Van Alstyne Nutrition owner Corey Coulton may have seen the vandals in action.
Two weeks ago, he said he was returning from an evening in Dallas when he decided to check on his store. He looked up and saw two white males quickly duck down on the roof. One had blonde hair and the other slightly longer dark hair. He pretended not to see them at first. Then he turned around and saw them pop up and down again.
Last week, Coulton’s air conditioning went out. When the technician went up to investigate, he found that the unit had been unplugged from its power supply.
"I think it’s just kids getting bored from sitting at home all the time," Coulton said.
Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes agrees, saying that the culprits are most likely juveniles or young adults.
The department has received calls about people on the roof over the past couple of weeks. In both instances, the suspects were gone before police arrived.
There is no indication that the businesses hit were specifically targeted or that the crimes were related to any other incidents outside of the city. Barnes says the investigation remains ongoing.
"I think it was just some kids being stupid," he said. "We’re hopefully going to catch who did it. Somebody will talk."