Back Bay residents are expressing outrage over numerous acts of vandalism to vehicles parked behind Beacon Street residences.
At least 40 cars parallel-parked in an alley behind residences on Beacon Street were scratched late Sunday or early Monday in a manner consistent with keying, using a key or other metal object to scratch paint, residents said.
The damage to cars and sport utility vehicles will probably be in the thousands of dollars, they say.
“It seems like such a petulant act, completely senseless, and it’s such a shame that somebody acts that way,’’ said Jessica Michaelsen, a new resident to the neighborhood. “I teach middle school students, and I expect ridiculous stuff from 14-year-olds. If this is a grown adult, that’s sad.’’
Most of those residents discovered the vandalism on their way to work Monday morning as they came upon the deep etches on side panels.
Some of the scratches extended from the side front panel, across doors, and to the back side panel.
Some cars had more than one long scratch, with additional scratches running parallel, of roughly the same length.
“I just think vandalism is such a senseless crime, and this is such a great neighborhood, so for something like that to happen here is just a shame,” said Erin Agee, 31, a Back Bay resident for four years and a Beacon Street resident for two. She usually parks her car in a garage behind her house on the 400 block.
“I”ve never had an issue before, so I feel very lucky,’’ she said.
The vandalism may have been captured on one of the many surveillance cameras focused on the roughly eight-block span from Arlington Street to Massachusetts Avenue. The cars were parked along a chain-link fence. Storrow Drive runs parallel to the fence. Police were looking to obtain recordings to aid their investigation.
Mark Schmid, 65, said he has parked his car along the fence for a dozen years and never had a problem until now, during a time when he is moving out.
“What timing, huh?’’ he asked with a chuckle. Schmid estimates the damage to his Volkswagen SUV to be about $2,000.
“I have a different view than some,’’ Schmid said. “I’m not happy it happened, but I am aware there are a lot of people who are upset and malcontent about a number of things. You have to be a bit philosophical about it.”
Behind 470 Beacon St., the back parking area is usually well lit, residents say, and there were apparently no keying incidents there.
But even along parts of the unaffected areas, some were baffled.
“I don’t know if it’s kids or whatever, but it doesn’t make any sense’’ said Demetrius Constantinus, 61, who has lived on Beacon Street for a decade.
“It’s got to be some knucklehead going through and keying everyone for no reason. These residents pay more than $200 a month for these spots.”
Police have filed only two reports on the vandalism but believe that number will increase soon.
A female resident first contacted police at 6:40 p.m. Monday, saying her SUV, parked at the back of 416 Beacon St., had been keyed.
The woman also told police that she looked at other vehicles similarly parked and noticed that at least 20 had also been keyed.
The woman told officers that the vandalism probably occurred between midnight and 7 a.m. Monday.
“It’s irritating and surprising,” said Grant Schaumburg, a resident of Beacon Street since 1974 whose vehicle was not damaged.
Schaumburg said he has heard of vandalism to neighbors’ cars in recent years and even found a brick thrown through the window of a parked jeep he owned several years ago, but has not heard of anything reaching this scale.
“I guess somebody was having a vicious good time at the residents’ expense,” he said.Brian Ballou can be reached at email@example.com.