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Parking arm vandalism

A camera at the Green 2 Garage, 530 P St., captured a vandal attacking the parking arm earlier this month. On June 21, Lincoln police ticketed 19-year-old Terrence Gleason on suspicion of misdemeanor criminal mischief.

The city expects its parking garages to suffer several broken arms a year.

Impatient drivers are typically to blame. “People get ahead of themselves thinking the gate is about to go up,” Wayne Mixdorf, Lincoln’s parking manager, said Tuesday. “And then they run into the gate.”

It’s caught others attempting to save a few dollars, trying to lift the gate just enough to slip their car through but ending up with a bigger bill: Each articulated arm costs $1,200 to replace.

But the city didn’t expect its cameras to capture a skinny young man in an even skinnier tie hanging from an arm at the Haymarket’s Green 2 Garage on June 2.

And kicking the gate. And twisting, hitting and pulling on it -- breaking connecting parts and motor arms and running up the damage to more than $3,200.

One of the costlier random acts of violence Mixdorf could recall.

“We’ve had greater damage done, but it’s done by people who are angry for some reason,” he said.

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On June 19, police posted images of the destruction on its Crime Stoppers page, labeling it Gate Hate. A day later, they were contacted by a Lincoln attorney, saying his client wanted to resolve the issue, said Officer Angela Sands.

And a day after that, police ticketed 19-year-old Terrence Gleason of Omaha on suspicion of misdemeanor criminal mischief. He had not yet been formally charged as of Tuesday. His attorney, Vince Powers, declined to comment.

The city’s 14 garages are busy places, attracting more than a million vehicles a year but not much crime.

“We’re very lucky here,” Mixdorf said. “We don’t generally see much in the way of bad behavior.”

But it does see some. Vandals like to target the elevators, scratching the stainless steel doors as if keying a car, or breaking off the telephone compartment doors.

And older garages with built-in blind spots attract homeless sleepers, especially in the winter, and people looking for a place to party -- and more.

“There is the occasional this-seems-like-a perfectly-logical-place-to-have-sex,” Mixdorf said. “But they’re public spaces, so everything you can imagine in a normal public space will happen in a parking garage.”

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7254 or psalter@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSPeterSalter.

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