Toronto police make first arrest after banks vandalized

Police have arrested a Toronto man in connection with anti-G20 graffiti spray-painted on downtown banks overnight.

Vandals spray-painted slogans such as “Resist G20″³ and “Stop the G20″³ on bank walls, windows and ATMs along Spadina Avenue between College and Dundas Streets.

The screens of several ATMs had been covered in spray paint, as had a parked police vehicle.

Samuel Bradley Kadosh, 22, has been charged with 9 counts of mischief under $5,000. Police are looking for at least one other suspect.

“It’s quite clear that the billion dollars that’s spent is not there to protect taxpayers, it’s there to protect Stephen Harper’s photo-op,” city councillor Adam Vaughan said Friday morning.

“It’s just wrong. It wasn’t just the banks that got tagged – it’s … small businesses that got tagged.”

Mr. Vaughan, whose ward will likely be seriously affected by security surrounding the world leaders’ summit, yesterday expressed frustration that the federal government will not be compensating homeowners or businesses for property damage sustained during the G20.

“The Prime Minister’s office has got to revisit this policy now,” Mr. Vaughan said. “I don’t understand the federal government that won’t protect its own citizens.”

Speaking to reporters at city hall, Mayor David Miller said he hopes the vandalism is not a harbinger of things to come during the G20.

“The graffiti and the damage to bank machines was wrong. We don’t welcome people who do damage in this city. We do welcome peaceful protest,” the Mayor said.

The activists’ message was not well received by some area residents who stopped by the banks.

“It’s a pain in the butt,” said Nicole Breen, a volunteer at a local women’s shelter, as she squinted her way through an ATM transaction.

“All it does is make people angry. Who wants to listen to their side of the story when all they’re doing is destroying things?”

Across the street at TD Canada Trust, Goodbye Graffiti employee Brandon Blair removed the last of the spray paint from a row of ATMs. It was his company’s first G20-related call; he does not expect it to be the last.

“Destroying other people’s businesses is not the thing to do,” he said.

A Royal Bank branch in Ottawa was also firebombed last week. No one was injured; initial estimates suggested the vandals caused $300,000 damage. On an independent media website, the perpetrators warned they are also headed for the G20 in Toronto.

That incident should prompt cause even more concern, Mr. Vaughan said. Many of the buildings in downtown Toronto are extremely old and vulnerable to fire, and low-income residents live above shops in the area, he stressed.

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