Premises targeted in the city comprised five banks, three hotels and the rest office premises, beauty saloons and eateries while that in Penampang were not available from the police there.
There have been no reports of injuries but the damage caused is said to be substantial. Police are trying to trace the identity of the vandals from CCTV images that showed a group of six in three vehicles, two of them Four Wheel Drives. They were dressed in black or had hoods covering their faces.
Police dismissed the incident having anything to do with the ongoing trial of 30 individuals charged with waging war against the Agong in the Sulu intrusion case.
Except for two hotels in Luyang and the city centre, most of the premises were empty when it happened.
Thirteen of the cases were in the city's business district, nine in Luyang and three in Inanam.
The vandals are believed to be youths armed with air rifles loaded with marbles.
"We initially thought it was caused by shots from a catapult but looking at the damage volume, we find that catapults do not have the capacity to break glass," said City Police Chief ACP Jauteh Dikun during a media conference at the Karamunsing Police Department.
The discovery of three marbles at the one of the damaged premises led police to believe that the culprits might have used air rifles loaded with marbles.
"We did not find any bullet shells at the scene and information gathered from witnesses also showed they did not hear any gunshots and only realised the incident when they saw the shattered windows," he said.
Preliminary investigations suggested that more than six youths were involved in the case probed under Section 427 of the Penal Code for committing mischief and damages.
"We are investigating the motives and based on information received so far, we believe this is done by irresponsible youths with the intention of causing mischief.
"We do not see any elements which could link this to terrorist attacks but we are probing to determine whether locals or foreigners are involved.
Police were alerted of the first case at 11.45pm in Inanam and the last at 12.45am, while not dismissing the possibility that the act could have been done simultaneously.
"Half of the information was gathered from closed circuit television footage which brings us to believe that three vehicles, namely two four-wheel-drive and one Saloon car were used," he added, adding that 19 police reports were lodged but no arrests had been made so far.
The culprits were believed to have shot at the glass windows from their vehicles before speeding off. A similar incident occurred in the Jesselton area after several holes were found at a premises in the middle of last year.
The case was also classified under Section 427 of the Penal Code for causing mischief and damages.
"We have set up a special team to probe this case and advise people not to worry as Kota Kinabalu is safe.
Should they need any information they can contact our Hotline at 088-221191," he said. The estimated loss is still being probed.
"We have some leads but we cannot disclose much due to investigations.
However, those with information are welcomed to contact me at 0198039520 or my Crime Investigation Chief DSP Azizul Zulkifli at 019-8103350," he said.
Meanwhile, Penampang Police Chief DSP Ratan Singh when contacted confirmed that a total of six similar cases were also reported in Penampang, adding that investigations were underway.