Protesters suspected in Oakland damage
Pittsburgh police will be watching surveillance videos from Oakland to see if any familiar faces pop up.
Security cameras might have captured footage of unidentified protesters breaking more than a dozen windows Tuesday evening at a PNC Bank and a neighboring building on Fifth Avenue and Craig Street, police spokeswoman Diane Richard said.
Investigators suspect the protest was in response to the jail sentence imposed hours earlier on David Japenga, 21, who caused $15,000 in damage to three businesses at Fifth and Craig during last year’s protests of the Group of 20 international economic summit. Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski sentenced Japenga to six to 18 months in the Allegheny County Jail.
Defense attorney Patrick Nightingale filed a written request for early parole for Japenga after Borkowski denied a request at the sentencing hearing. Nightingale said the vandalism doesn’t help his client’s case.
“Technically, it had nothing to do with my client, but could there be a inference that this was done at his behalf or at his behestâ¢ Certainly there could be that inference,” Nightingale said. “It’s natural to assume that it is related because it was at the same location, and it was damage that was similar in nature.”
About a dozen of Japenga’s friends attended the sentencing hearing.
Officers were called to Forbes and Bellefield avenues for reports of a protest about 8:15 p.m., Richard said. When officers arrived, about 15 people ran from the area, and police discovered the damage.
There were 13 broken windows at PNC Bank and two broken windows at a building across the street that houses Citizens Bank, police said. The damage was estimated at $97,500.
PNC is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Police said anyone with information should call detectives at the Zone 4 station in Squirrel Hill at 412-422-6578.