Westlake tenants deflated by more vandalism

An apartment complex has once again come under attack by vandals, police said, less than a year after garage fires, graffiti and slashed tires caused panic among complex residents.

Vandals have slashed tires on at least 14 cars in one garage at the Westlake Village Apartments on the 100 block of Poncetta Drive sometime during the night of March 13, police said. But residents said about 16 other cars also had their tires slashed the same night in an adjacent garage at the complex. The Police Department said they have no leads but are continuing to investigate the vandalism.

Westlake Village is a large community of apartments that covers 47 acres and includes 3,000 units nearthe Lake Merced Golf Club and John Daly Boulevard.

Randy Tran, who often leaves his car in one of the complex’s garage at 65 Poncetta Drive when he visits his parents, said he was relieved to see his car left untouched by the vandals.

“I was worried, so now I park outside,” Tran said.

The recent slashing of car tires at Westlake Village comes after residents of 70 Poncetta Drive were evacuated early one morning in September as firefighters battled a fire in the parking garage. In June, firefighters put out a small trash fire at the garage of 75 Poncetta Drive, while last February somebody set a car on fire in the same garage.

Those incidents were preceded by other vandalism acts such as slashed tires and graffiti on cars, according to residents. Giovanni Alba, who has lived in the complex for four years, said he hoped the history of blazes in nearby buildings doesn’t mean violence would escalate in his area.

Alba has already taken precautions by parking outside, he said, after someone broke into his car in the garage two months ago. But he said it’s very difficult to find street parking with the popular Boulevard Cafe nearby.

Since last year’s incidents, residents said there has been a spike of suspicious activity in the community of apartments including graffiti and damage to hallway doors. Many residents said the apartment managers need to take more responsibility for securing the buildings.

“We pay $45 for those parking spots — they should provide a camera there or pay for the tires,” said Rene Gusman, who has lived in the complex for three years.

Managers at the Westlake Village Apartments did not return calls for comment.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

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