Yoga studio caught up in window-smashing spree

Vandalism at 38th & Grand shows no sign of abating

The ongoing vandalism at the forthcoming Good Times pizza and ice cream shop has continued and has now spread to its neighbor store, the TaraNa yoga studio. Photo by Andrew Hazzard

A streak of targeted, persistent window shattering at the forthcoming Good Times pizza and ice cream parlor in Kingfield continues and now a neighboring business has been hit in what appears to be collateral damage.

Shortly before midnight on June 15, security cameras show two women running by the building at 322 W. 38th St. and hitting the windows and doors with what appear to be hammers.

Vandalism at the property, owned by Tyler Avestini, has persisted since January. Windows and glass doors at the building have been smashed six times, according to Franz Gilbertson, the owner of the forthcoming pizza joint. But this time, the vandals also struck Good Times’ next door neighbor, the TaraNa yoga studio at 3757 Grand Ave. S.

The yoga studio’s window closest to the pizza joint was smashed, causing thousands of dollars in damage, owner Jeffrey Bores said. He’s afraid it won’t be the last time.

“I know I’m going to get busted again,” Bores said.

The vandalism at 38th & Grand is part of a pattern that has developed at Avestini’s properties throughout the city. Avestini’s properties in North Minneapolis are home to businesses including Mykonos Coffee & Grill, Clientele Barbershop and Avestopolis Cleaners. At each location, vandals have damaged at least 10 windows since the fall of 2017, Avestini said.

He has since installed security cameras there but now just sees footage of two people with covered faces smashing windows and running away.

“I feel bad for my neighbors,” Avestini said.

A woman was charged in a May 2018 incident at an Avestini property on the North Side, but the case was dismissed when it went to trial in April. He still believes she is the one responsible but said property crime detectives have told him with covered faces, it’s hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

“I would bet a month’s pay it was her,” he said.

Minneapolis Police spokesperson Sgt. Darcy Horn said the case is open and under investigation. No arrests have been made in the 38th & Grand vandalism. She said investigators have reviewed store surveillance footage and may set up their own surveillance “in some cases.”

Avestini said the window breaking at his properties began in the fall of 2017. The only explanation he can think of is a car that was towed from one of his North Minneapolis properties after sitting idle for several days. After the towing, he said the person who owned it posted about him on Facebook. He thinks that might have sparked the dispute but said he doesn’t understand why he’s being targeted.

His frustration is to the point where he is considering doing a stakeout at the building and hiring private security. He wants to catch them himself but is afraid of what he might do.

“If I am there, I will hurt them,” he said.

At his properties in North Minneapolis, he has installed polycarbonate windows that are more resistant to damage, which has stopped further destruction. He said he’ll likely do the same in Kingfield.

Gilbertson said he was unaware of the ongoing vendetta against Avestini’s properties when he signed a lease agreement last June but added the window breaking at his place did not begin until January.

“This and myriad other things would make me not want to pursue a relationship with the building owner. However, these things really only started to manifest after having begun the buildout,” he said. “I entered into this process in good faith only to learn quite a few lessons the hard way.”

While the vandalism has been discouraging, it hasn’t been the primary reason for Good Times’ delay in opening. Gilbertson said less visible issues have held up the restaurant and that he’s made major investments in the building. He has been told continued vandalism may make it harder to get a liquor license. Starting over at a new spot wouldn’t be feasible, he said.

“I do still feel confident that the location will prove to be a good one and look forward to joining the community in a real way,” he said.

Bores has run TaraNa at 38th & Grand for 13 years and has never experienced anything like this.

“At what point does the neighborhood say, ‘What’s going on?’” Bores asked.