Mysterious "Bullet Holes" Cost Bay Business Owners

Shop owners in old town Bay St. Louis fear that someone's firing a gun into their businesses. At least three business owners have reported broken or shattered windows. Fortunately, no one has been hurt.

Sandy Smith got quite a jolt as she prepared to open her business this weekend.

"We drove up to the shop and there were these two big bullet holes through the window," Smith said.

Smith was even more frightened to think what might have happened if she had been inside.

"One would have hit me. If I had been in front of the window it would have penetrated right through my throat. And if I had been at my desk, it would have gone through my head."

After reporting the incident to police, she learned her antique shop on the corner of Main and Second Streets wasn't the only target. The clothing store across the street and a nearby costume rental business were also hit.

"We've had vandalism along this street off and on. This is the second time they've shot these windows," store owner Edward Young said.

He says what may be target practice for someone ends up hurting his business.

"It costs quite a bit of money to keep doing this. Five hundred dollars every time you change one of these windows, so it's expensive."

Assistant Police Chief Dave Stepro told WLOX NEWS, "One of the jobs of law enforcement is the protection of life and property, so yes, it is a concern with us."

Police aren't exactly sure what hit the shop windows, but speculate it could have been steel balls launched from a sling shot.

"We've not had any complaints of gunfire," Stepro said.

And police say they found steel balls near the damage. Police do know the incidences are occurring late at night.

Shop owners fear the problem will only get worse.

"It's going to continue until, one, they're either caught, or two, somebody gets hurt," Smith said.

Assistant Chief Stepro disagreed.

"I don't think it's the beginning of a large crime spree. I think it's probably what it is malicious mischief done by someone who was bored."

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to contact the Bay St. Louis Police Department at 467-9221.

by Al Showers