A 41-year-old Billings woman was arrested Tuesday morning after vandalizing several businesses on Grand Avenue.
The suspect, Amanda Rickman, was detained after causing damage to the businesses, including breaking windows of some with rocks.
Businesses that were affected include The Base Camp, K&A Photography and the Rebel Coffee kiosk, located in the parking lot of Ace Hardware.
A&K Photography owner Adriane Nielsen caught Rickman on her surveillance camera throwing a rock through the front of her business and shattering the window.
"It sucks, you know," Nielsen said. "It's sad. You always worry about the worst of what will happen to your business."
Nielsen was doing everything she could to stay positive Tuesday afternoon, even joking about how she had a new entrance into her studio.
"Normally, our door is here," Nielsen said, as she opened the door to her business. "But today we have this new door, so you can just come on in."
The broken window is large enough that Nielsen — and basically anyone — could easily walk inside.
Even with the new structural damage to her business, Nielsen was focused on moving forward. She routinely takes portraits of families with young children.
"I've got to go through everything carefully and make sure I get glass out of everything," Nielsen said. "Money is what we'll have to deal with, but we'll get there. I'd rather make sure everyone is safe."
Over at The Base Camp, the damage was much less devastating. A flower pot was smashed and the signs lining the outside of the business were bent. Store manager Hilary Mitchell said she felt fortunate the damage at her business wasn't worse.
"We have a full display of front windows that could've been destroyed," Mitchell said. "They weren't, so we're extremely lucky and feel very bad for the other businesses down the way that weren't as lucky as us."
Mitchell said it is alarming to see yet another case of vandalism in Billings.
"It's really sad to see and it's a shame that it's happening in our town," Mitchell said. "I hate that it's happening to all these small businesses and the larger businesses as well. It's really hard for everyone to try and recover from that."
Tuesday's vandalism comes on the heels of a hectic and destructive weekend. There were 91 vehicles with broken windows from BB gun pellets on Saturday, but Billings police confirmed that Rickman was not connected to those crimes.
In 2023, Billings saw 1,481 cases of criminal mischief. Since Saturday, four days ago, nearly 7 percent of the 2023 total was recorded.
"I know officers have their hands full of things that are happening that are worse than vandalism, but it is sad to see," Mitchell said.
A sad reality that Nielsen believes represents a bigger problem.
"It's upsetting that someone unfortunately gets to that state in their life where they feel that ethically, it's okay to do that," Nielsen said.