Published August 25, 2003
WEST COVINA, Calif. – Public officials, firefighters and Hummer fans rallied outside an auto dealership to denounce the unidentified vandals who did $1 million in damage as an environmental protest.
"We don't disagree with the need to improve fuel efficiency," said West Covina (search) City Councilman Mike Miller. "But vandalism doesn't get the message across."
About 25 members of a Southern California Hummer (search) fan club joined officials outside Clippinger Chevrolet for Sunday's rally. They toured the area where fires early Friday gutted a parts warehouse and destroyed 20 Hummer H2s. Another 20 Hummers and several Chevrolet Tahoes were significantly damaged by fire and spray-painting.
Three other dealers and at least four privately owned vehicles in the area also were damaged during the vandalism spree.
Miller said council members planned to meet with local auto dealers this week to discuss ways to improve security.
"We are concerned," said Josh Sage, a sales manager at Huntington Beach Chrysler Jeep and Hummer. The dealership moved its Hummers to a back lot and hired an extra security guard to patrol all night, he said.
The Earth Liberation Front (search), a loose association of militant environmentalists that has claimed responsibility for other acts of arson and vandalism, said in an unsigned e-mail Friday that the incidents were "ELF actions" but added it had not be in contact with those responsible.
Slogans such as "Fat, Lazy Americans" and "I (heart) pollution" were painted on vehicles.