ASHLAND — An Ashland man is suspected of smashing in the front window of a downtown business with a planter and destroying merchandise inside while intoxicated early Friday morning, police said.

ASHLAND — An Ashland man is suspected of smashing in the front window of a downtown business with a planter and destroying merchandise inside while intoxicated early Friday morning, police said.

Zachary Dane Plescia, 22, of the 1500 block of Oregon Street, was arrested on a charge of first-degree criminal mischief after admitting to damaging the Hatsetera store at East Main and South Second streets, Ashland police Deputy Chief Corey Falls said. Plescia was being held in the Jackson County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Hatsetera owner Nancy Christmann said merchandise had been smashed and damaged, and dirt was strewn about from the planter. The store sells hats, jewelry, handbags and other accessories.

"He knocked down everything in the front window," Christmann said. "Broken glass everywhere."

According to an Ashland police report, the vandalism was reported at 3:49 a.m. when Officer Theron Hull was on duty.

"The officer was actually on patrol and saw the crash," Falls said.

Police interviewed three individuals in the area. They included Plescia, who admitted to smashing the window, Falls said. Court records show no additional criminal convictions in Jackson County for Plescia.

Police called Christmann around 5 a.m. to inform her of the damage. She was unable to provide a cost estimate to repair the damage but said the store had been cleaned up Friday. She didn't think the incident was a personal attack on her or her store.

Christmann, who has been in business since 2007, said these kinds of incidents have increased in severity over time.

"I'm frightened as a business owner," she said. "It just seems to be quickly escalating."

Other recent vandalism incidents in the downtown area included a January spree that damaged several vehicles, signs and flower pots, and a March arson fire allegedly set by a homeless man that damaged several businesses in the Ashland Plaza and forced them to close temporarily.

Falls said police have responded to a few calls for vandalism lately, but he didn't think there had been an escalation.

"It happens every now and again," Falls said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.