Glass shattered in block-long series of downtown windows, doors
By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A local man with a penchant for — and history of — breaking glass was arrested Sunday afternoon, December 10, just hours after he left a block-long string of shattered shop windows and splintered glass doors in Atmore’s downtown business district.
Atmore police took 42-year-old Shawn Edward Brown into custody after learning he was in a vacant building in the 200 block of West Louisville Avenue. Police determined that Brown had broken a pane on the front door, unlocked the door and entered the building, where he damaged several interior walls.
Brown became the only suspect in the destructive acts after video surveillance cameras from at least two locations caught him in the act.
“The on-call investigator and the shift sergeant were able to view surveillance footage from several of the stores and were able to positively identify Shawn Brown as the person responsible for damaging the windows,” said Atmore Police Department Sgt. Darrell McMann, who added that a major portion of the vandalism spree was carried out around 1:40 a.m.
Sunday’s glass-breaking spree wasn’t the first time Brown has gotten into trouble for such an act. He was arrested in September 2021 when he used unspecified burglary tools to smash five windows at Dean’s Grill (now Atmore Grill).
The damage was much more severe this time, as glass littered the sidewalk outside We Care Thrift Store, Lance’s Outlet, Hawt Mess Boutique, Encore / Strand Theater, The Tot Shop, Atmore News, Atmore Flower Shop, Williams Station Embroidery and two vacant storefronts.
According to Alabama Criminal Code, a person commits the crime of criminal mischief in the first degree “if, with intent to damage property, and having no right to do so or any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such a right, he or she inflicts damages to property in excess of $2,500.”
The total amount of damage wreaked by Brown has yet to be determined, but it far exceeds the minimum for a first-degree charge.
Police have not yet found the weapon used in the onslaught, although they are sure what it was.
“I could see in the video he used a hammer, but we didn’t find it when we arrested him,” McMann said.
The outlet store and the florist shop seemed to be the most heavily damaged, as large, plate-glass windows were turned to shards and piles of broken glass pieces at each. Glass at other locations was either shattered or “spider-webbed,” apparently depending on which end of the hammer Brown decided to use at each one.
Brown was booked into the county jail shortly after 1 p.m. He remained there early Tuesday, charged with 11 counts of first-degree criminal mischief and one count of third-degree burglary. Each count represents a separate Class C felony.
The troubled Atmore man has been booked into the Escambia County Detention Center 15 other times since 2009, twice for second-degree assault, according to jail records.
Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Community Fund officials announced they would conduct a spaghetti supper fundraiser to help affected businesses pay for the damages this Thursday, December 14, at The Encore at the Strand, from 4:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 each, and only 200 are available. The Community Fund will match the proceeds from supper sales.
Also, Main Street Atmore and Main Street Alabama have pledged $500 each to each damaged business. The Main Street Foundation is also accepting tax-deductible donations from any individual or group who might want to help. Contributions may be sent to Main Street Atmore, 201 Louisville Avenue, Atmore, AL 36502.