Rock-throwing vandals damage cars, homes

September 8, 2008 9:19:50 PM PDT
There's a call for Amtrak to take action against rock-throwing vandals. On August 23 and August 24, criminals broke into the tracks on the Amtrak trestle that runs through Astoria. On both occasions, they hurled baseball-sized rocks onto cars and houses.

Several cars sustained smashed windows or other damage. Some residents had their roofs damaged.

Residents say the problem has been going on for some time. They suspect the culprits are climbing the security fences or, in some cases, climbing stairs to get to the tracks.

Warning signs around the area have not been effective in keeping out trespassers.

Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. called on Amtrak to take additional steps to deter and to prevent this behavior before someone is seriously hurt.

In a letter to Amtrak, Vallone asked the company to tighten security to their tracks and post cameras along the trestle to help catch trespassers.

"It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured," Vallone said. "We need to be doing all we can to stop these types of incidents in the future."

Vallone said he has written to Amtrak several times over the years asking for security improvements after similar incidents.

Vallone suggested that Amtrak use surveillance cameras as an added precaution.

Amtrak has repeatedly ensured Vallone that everything in its power was being done to prevent trespassers, but he is demanding they take concrete steps to tighten access to the trestle.

Amtrak told Eyewitness News that they are preparing a response.

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