Family targeted by death threats, violence after St. Patrick's keg party bust

A Waterloo family say it's been the victim of escalting taunts, death threats and vandalism in the week since a keg party was busted next door.

A Waterloo family says it's been the victim of escalating taunts, a death threat, and a concrete cinder block thrown through their front window in the week since a keg party was busted next door.

Scott Leatherdale says he's had problems with some of the students living on Albert Street for years, and has been regularly reporting minor annoyances to authorities. 

But things have gotten much worse in the past week, and he believes it's in retaliation for police breaking up a keg party next door on St. Patrick's Day.

"It seems like since that time, out of the blue, things escalated where I'm taking out the garbage and a car I recognize from the neighbourhood drives by, and a person hangs out the window and yells a death threat at me," Leatherdale told CBC News in an interview Wednesday. 

"Then all of a sudden last night a cinder block is thrown through the front window of our house."

Leatherdale said he was fast asleep when at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning he heard glass shatter downstairs. 

"I just sprinted downstairs and I saw the cinder block, the window smashed," Leatherdale said.

He said the block had bounced off his infant son's swing chair and landed on a pile of glass on the floor. 

"You can see a huge dent in the wood floor where the block landed."

A photo taken early Wednesday morning shows a cinder block which was thrown inside Scott Leatherdale's Albert Street home. He says it bounced off his son's swinging chair (pictured) before landing on the floor. (Contributed by Scott Leatherdale)

Evidence mounting against students

Leatherdale wouldn't say if he's the one who tipped off police on St. Patrick's Day, saying with 200 people on the front lawn, his neighbours weren't being very discreet.  

He also admitted while there's no hard proof the students are responsible for this week's threats and vandalism, the evidence is mounting. 

"I'm not going to speculate if it was them, yes or no, but to me, I would not say it's a coincidence that a large party gets busted and then all of a sudden we're dealing with substantial threats to our well-being," Leatherdale said.

Leatherdale said he's disappointed staff at Wilfrid Laurier University haven't reprimanded the students. 

More than a prank

Members of the MacGregor Albert Community Association, including Leatherdale, met with police and bylaw officers Tuesday night. 

But Doug Woodley, a fellow neighbour and an association member, thinks police haven't done enough. 

"We're concerned that the police don't regard this with the seriousness that we do. That they think this is 'boys will be boys' or pranks or something like that," Woodley said. 

"In fact, it's criminal behaviour," he said.

Woodley wants the students identified, charged and prosecuted. 

Police 'actively investigating'

Staff Sgt. Mike Haffner said police were notified of Leatherdale's allegations.

"The complainant involved in this investigation has contacted Waterloo Police Service and right now we're actively investigating not only a situation where there have been threats uttered, but also damage to property by throwing a cinder block through the window," Haffner said.

"Any calls to the police that involve threats or damage to property, we take those calls very seriously and respond accordingly and our main concern is to the safety and security of the people that are involved in the incident."

University 'appalled'

In a statement to CBC News, Wilfrid Laurier's vice-president of student affairs David McMurray said the university was "appalled" by the behaviour and "condemned" the vandalism. 

The statement added that if Laurier students are found to be involved, the school's code of conduct will be enforced "to the full extent."

Statement from David McMurray, vice-president of student affairs, Wilfrid Laurier university

"Wilfrid Laurier University strongly condemns the recently reported acts of vandalism and abusive behaviour directed against a family living on Albert Street in Waterloo. We are appalled by this behavior on our campus borders. It is inconsistent with the values of the university and of the vast majority of our students.

Our concern and sympathy lies with the affected family and other residents of the neighbourhood. We are assisting police and city bylaw enforcement in their investigations. We have also asked that these latest incidents be addressed at the next meeting of the city's Town and Gown committee, which includes representation from the neighbourhood.

We want the community and our student body to know that Laurier takes these issues very seriously. If Laurier students are involved, we will enforce the university's Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct to the full extent, aided by evidence generated through the police investigations.

We will continue to offer our full support to residents of the neighbourhood. We are also urging members of the Laurier community to come forward with any information they might have to assist police in their investigations."

with files from Kate Bueckert


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