One of Miami’s top tourism draws was damaged Saturday in an apparent act of vandalism.
A glass storefront panel of Route 66 Vintage Iron, a motorcycle museum in downtown Miami, was shattered early Saturday when an occupant of a large vehicle hurled a sledge hammer into the glass, according to owner Tony Holden.
No items were stolen, according to Holden, but two bikes were damaged by shards of glass.
Holden said Saturday that an elaborate surveillance system recorded the incident and the data is being downloaded. It will be turned over to the Miami Police Department.
Holden was at his Tulsa home when he learned of the damage. He returned to Miami Saturday afternoon to review surveillance video and view the damage to the S. Main Street business.
Chris Martin, manager of the museum and gift shop, said an in-house alarm system did its job and, despite the damage to the store, the incident proved the value of the high-tech system.
Images captured on a digitally recorded surveillance feed indicate that at 3:13.58 a.m. a white “Jimmy” truck rolled up to the front of the store and a passenger threw a mid-sized sledge hammer into the glass. The vehicle then sped away, according to Martin.
Alarms immediately sounded and, within two minutes, police were at the scene.
“It is hard to say what their intentions were,” Martin said. “Maybe they were trying to see if an alarm would go off. Maybe they were looking for cash … or maybe it was just random vandalism.”
Martin said the recorded incident is only seconds long but the frame-by-frame sequence shows quite a bit of detail.
Miami Police Department dispatchers said the case will be assigned to a detective on Monday.
Holden said he is hoping that the public can help to identify the vehicle and offer tips as to who may have caused the damage. He plans to release surveillance images to the public as soon as possible.
Martin said that Holden and Vintage Iron will seek prosecution to the full extent of the law if a guilty party is found.
Route 66 Vintage Iron features more than 25 vintage motorcycles, including the only remaining 1919 Australian GCS.
The display also includes the largest Steve McQueen collection in the country including his personal racing Husqavana.
Amanda Davis, program director for the Miami Convention and Visitor’s Bureau said Saturday that Vintage Iron is a vital part of Miami’s marketing mix.
“It brings revenue to Miami,” Davis said. “Our foreign tourists know all about it and we get inquiries about the museum on a regular basis.”
Davis said Tony Holden invested in Miami and its downtown and it is upsetting to see anyone intentionally try to cause damage.
“Why would anyone do this?