The unlikely suspect in a string of window breakings in Beverly Hills — a 58-year-old Encino investment adviser — may be connected to 70 additional cases in the area, authorities said. Michael Steven Poret, a broker at UBS Financial Services, was arrested in Encino last week. Police say that Poret vandalized numerous businesses along Ventura Boulevard and several private homes in Beverly Hills. A witness account and private surveillance footage have depicted the vandal as a graying man in white gloves firing marbles at plate glass windows with a slingshot from the driver’s seat of his car, then driving away in no apparent hurry. Authorities believe that Poret could be connected to more than 20 vandalism incidents in Beverly Hills and more than 50 in Encino, as well as several other vandalism reports authorities have received in Van Nuys and Topanga Canyon.
The vandal appears to target businesses indiscriminately, hitting coffee shops, an autism treatment center and a salon. Luie Velasquez, a detective with the West Valley division of the Los Angeles Police Department, said the police’s top theory is that the suspect sought excitement. “Your guess is as good as mine,” Velasquez said. “For whatever reason, these individuals get some sort of thrill from smashing windows.” Poret was first arrested July 3 after a Beverly Hills patrol officer spotted a slingshot in his vehicle during a traffic stop for a vehicle code violation. A search of his vehicle revealed brass knuckles, knives and slingshot projectiles. Poret was arrested again Thursday in an early morning raid on his Encino home, where police discovered firearms, bb guns, slingshots and marbles similar to those used in the window-breakings.
A very understanding victim whose windows were hit three times and cost him $7,000 to repair had this to say: “I mean, I know that an investment bankers* are a little nuts. But you know, maybe the market is that bad. I don’t get that. He must be a very frustrated guy.”
*All together now: broker ≠ investment banker ≠ bank teller ≠ trader ≠ hedge fund general counsel ≠ person who works in HR at an investment bank.