Assistant Attorney General Hunts Down Crazed Vandal 

click to enlarge street30_vandal_100.jpg

Charles Quagliato says he might never have noticed the bald, goateed black man wearing the button-down shirt open to his navel and the red tiger-print shorts -- if it weren't for what the man did with the broken chunk of cinderblock he was carrying.

It was just after 8 p.m. July 18, recalls Quagliato, an assistant attorney general who prosecutes organized crime cases. He'd just left Capital Ale House, he says, where colleagues were toasting a departing co-worker.

"At first I didn't know what he was doing," he says of the man, "but then I watched as he would go to one car and smash the window and then go to another car and smash the window."

Ever the crime fighter, Quagliato's instincts kicked in. He walked really fast, keeping a good bit of sidewalk between him and the man before dialing 9-1-1 on his cell phone. "I was hoping the cops would arrive," he says.

They didn't, at least not quickly enough. "When they didn't arrive in the first five minutes," Quagliato says, "I was thinking maybe I should hang around."

So for nearly a half an hour, Quagliato played cat and mouse with a man dressed like a circus lion tamer, following him up and down Main and Cary streets as the man bashed out about a dozen car windows.

Quagliato says the man never seemed to notice him and eventually dropped the cinder block. Eventually police arrived, and Quagliato helped them triangulate their search, which ended near the front of Peking Restaurant in Shockoe Bottom.

"When I saw him he was mumbling and talking," Quagliato says. "I realized he was completely incoherent, and even if he did notice me, he wouldn't put two and two together."

A Richmond Police spokeswoman tells Style she could find no record of the incident. At least one employee of the attorney general's office, an intern in the correctional litigation section, lost a car window to the cinderblock-wielding man.

So how did Quagliato take to getting handed the script for a character on the policing side of the "Law & Order" cast?

"Not too interesting," Quagliato says. "Enforcement — definitely not for me."


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