Marion PD dealing with "BB Bandits"

MARION, IOWA - A recent series of BB gun vandalism in Marion is costing a business owner thousands in repairs.

Plywood boards up windows at Cast of Thousands Photography in Marion on August 27, 2019 (Brian Tabick/KCRG)

“Cast of Thousands Photography” owner Keith Nester tells KCRG-TV9 their business is still open but they’ve had to cover their windows with plywood. That comes after two of his windows were shot with a BB gun.

“We had to put a lot of work into this place,” Nester said. “It’s hard to see this happen.”

Nester said they bought the storefront in downtown Marion 10 years ago. It was a dream come true for him and his wife. The damage from the shootings isn’t just costing them in materials, it’s costing them in business.

“When people drive past they see the boards and think of Cast of Thousands Photography is closed; guess we don’t have to call them,” Nester said.

According to data from the Marion Police Department, the number of BB gun shootings in recent times is higher than average. Over the last four years, Marion officers have taken 13 to 17 reports involving BB guns. To date this year, they said they’ve responded to 16.

It’s illegal to have a loaded BB gun in Marion or Cedar Rapids. Nester said he understands the difficulty in finding whoever did this to his studio, but said the police are doing the best they can.

“There was a night I was sort of camped out on the street watching,” Nester said. “An officer saw me and came over and he said what are you doing? He said Keith, I got this, go home."