Admittedly, it’s a tough time to be working in the financial services industry. Amidst global turmoil such as the European sovereign debt crisis, market swings, and tougher financial regulations leading banks to cut back on their risk-taking, these are not heady, care-free days for Wall Street firms.
Morgan Stanley just reported that its equity trading revenue fell 34 percent to $1.22 billion. Goldman Sachs this week reported a 12 percent drop in second-quarter earnings. Other banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America have also reported tepid results. More lay-offs across Wall Street are in the pipeline.
[For More on Morgan Stanley's earnings, read this article.] One employee who’s been having a particularly hard time is a 58-year-old broker at UBS Financial Services, who has been arrested after being suspected of a string of window breakings in Beverly Hills. Authorities say he may be connected to 70 additional cases in the area.
Michael Steven Poret, who had been with UBS since 2008 and prior to that was reportedly with Merrill Lynch for 11 years, vandalized a number of businesses along Ventura Boulevard and several private homes in Beverley Hills in recent weeks. With a slingshot.
A witness account and private surveillance footage have depicted the vandal as “a graying man in white gloves firing marbles at plate glass windows with a slingshot from the driver’s seat of his car, then driving away in no apparent hurry.”
He appeared to be targeting businesses indiscriminately.
Luie Velasquez, a detective with the West Valley division of the Los Angeles Police Department, said the police’s top theory is that the suspect sought excitement. “Your guess is as good as mine,” Velasquez said. “For whatever reason, these individuals get some sort of thrill from smashing windows.”
Poret was first arrested on June 3, when a search of his vehicle revealed brass knuckles, knives and slingshot projectiles. He was arrested again last week in an early morning raid on his Encino home, where police discovered firearms, bb guns, slingshots and marbles similar to those used in the window-breakings.
Authorities believe that Poret could be connected to more than 20 vandalism incidents in Beverly Hills and more than 50 in Encino, as well as several other reports of vandalism that authorities have received in Van Nuys and Topanga Canyon.
The LA Times reports that the owner of one office building that was hit three times was quite understanding about the victim’s apparent mental state, despite having to pay $7000 to fix the windows of his building.
"I mean, I know that an investment bankers are a little nuts," Stefan De Nocker said. "But you know, maybe the market is that bad. I don't get that. He must be a very frustrated guy."
Comments in the blogosphere have been colorful.
“I hear a large pallet of marbles and slingshots was just delivered to SocGen in midtown,” one Dealbreaker.com reader commented.
“After some disappointing quarters, that's the closer [UBS] can get to actually hitting some targets,” another reader added.