Fresno man smashes in Chevron gas station windows with hammer

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Surveillance video captured some frightening moments at a Downtown Fresno gas station. A man with a hammer smashed through the front doors of a Chevron station store on Wednesday.

Customers and the store clerk could only watch as the man took a few swings with the hammer and sent glass flying inside the store. Fortunately no one was hurt.

But store manager Quest Singh said, "The door glass could have gone in their mouth, ears, whatever. It could have injured anybody."

Both doors were left with gaping holes after the incident. Fresno Police identified Charles Monroe as the man who walked up and swung a hammer through the glass. The crime was captured on the store's surveillance system.

Lt. Joe Gomez of the Fresno Police department said, "He was trying to steal something in the store and the clerk told him to leave. He was also harassing a woman in here."

Singh added, "He leaves aggressively and after 15 minutes he comes back. He brings back a hatchet or hammer, smashes the doors."

Action News was there when it happened. We saw Monroe lingering outside the store cussing at people. A clerk later pointed him out to a police officer and the 60-year old Monroe was booked for felony vandalism.

The broken glass panes were replaced but the uneasiness has remained. Singh told us homeless always gather in front of his store no matter how many times they're asked to leave.

Singh said, "They'll still hang out in the shade, use our water for showering there."

Because of this violent act he's asked police to make the intersection a regular stop on their patrol.

Gomez said, "Throughout Fresno we get those kind of issues and it's related to homeless, panhandling, drug use. It seems to all overlap."

Gomez added all business owners can do is keep calling police when they have a problem. But Singh worried the violence will escalate without real solutions.

"They smashed the window," explained Singh. "They've threatened to kill anybody behind the counter. Not once but 3-4 times."

Other area business owners we talked to shared Singh's fears and frustrations. They said it was a constant battle to keep panhandlers away from customers.

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