For the sixth time in the last several years, an unknown assailant has caused significant damage to multiple vehicles at Wild West Cars & Trucks on Lake City Way NE.

Early in the morning of Jan. 1, a white sedan matching the description of a 2017 Toyota Camry slowly pulled alongside Wild West Cars. An individual in the back seat of the vehicle rolled down their window and sprayed a liquid onto cars sitting just off the road at the dealership.

The attack, which took place over just 30 seconds at 2:52 a.m., sprayed a chemical on more than 20 vehicles.

The owner, Randy Lindquist, found the dangerous chemical had damaged the vehicles the next morning. The chemical has identified as aircraft stripper, a highly-corrosive agent which strips aircraft of paint down to the metal. It does the same to cars, creating unsightly peeling blotches which actually grow over time. It warps or melts plastic and rubber elements as well.

Jennifer Lindquist, Randy’s niece and the manager of the dealership, said that nearly identical attacks had happened in the past - the most recent being 10 months ago.

“We had gotten rid of all the vehicles from the last time except one,” she said. “It’s kind of an indescribable feeling. We’re not a big business, we’re a family-owned business. This is not something we can really recuperate from.”

While total estimates of the New Years Day attack aren’t finalized with Wild West Cars’ insurance agency, Lindquist thinks the total costs will come in somewhere between $150,000 and $200,000. All told, she said the attacks have racked up a bill of between $800,000 and $1 million. 

“I don’t know if we can survive another one of these,” she said. 

The aircraft stripper sprayed on the cars isn’t easy to come by.

“It’s not store-bought. You can’t just go to Home Depot or Ace [Hardware] and buy some, you have to be in the aircraft industry to get it,” Lindquist said. “We have one lead which we believe stems from a personal dispute, nothing business related.”

In the past, the vehicles hit with the chemical have been subject to a variety of fates. Some have only been hit superficially and have been repaired, while others were offered at a discount to buyers less concerned with a vehicle’s appearance. Others have been sold for scrap. 

Lindquist said the same individual has left threatening comments from fake Facebook pages and the Seattle Police Department hasn’t made any arrests to date. 

She said she hoped things would turn around not only for her business, but for others involved.

“Our sales people here depend on selling cars to feed their family and pay their mortgage,” Lindquist said. “This last hit got some of our neighbors as well. It just breaks your heart.”