Vandals strike again at city park

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

$5,000 in damage done to picnic tables, pavilion

For the third straight year, vandals have struck at the city park in Cassville, causing about $5,000 in damages to the park's pavilion and picnic tables.

Dana Kammerlohr, Cassville police chief, said if caught, the vandals could face charges ranging from a class B misdemeanor to a class D felony.

"The main problem is the pavilion on Mill Street, where the old swimming pool was, where several picnic tables have been damaged over the past few weeks," she said. "We have had to remove three tables because there's damage to the vinyl covering, and because profanities have been carved on them. There's also paint and burns on the ceiling of the pavilion and the cement floor."

Kammerlohr said vandals destroying park property is no new occurrence, as it is the third year in a row she has dealt with the issue. Last year, she said picnic tables by the tennis courts were removed for similar reasons, but those who damaged the tables, a group of teenagers, were caught and had to perform community service, cleaning up the park and fixing things that were destroyed.

"Cassville takes pride in its parks and I hate to see this needless destruction," she said. "I've heard from kids that they are just bored, but if they're bored, they can find something positive to do. Being bored is no excuse to destroy things."

Kammerlohr said those who damage property last year only has to do community service because of the nature of the damage and the lack of criminal history among those caught, but if this year's vandals are caught, they may not be so lucky.

With the three tables costing $1,500 each, and the money spent in labor costs fixing them, damages are about $5,000, which is well above the $750 minimum for a class D felony property damage charge.

Since the damage has been done, Kammerlohr said the city is increasing patrols in the area and locking the doors to the bathrooms, as someone had burned hay in the bathroom sinks.

"One of our officers went and checked the bathrooms, then when he came back an hour later, he discovered someone had burned hay in the sinks and trashed the bathroom," she said. "So, we are having to lock those now overnight."

Kammerlohr said she believes the damage to the pavilion was done in the late evening hours on a weekend, but is not completely sure when it occurred.

She said anyone with information about the incidents should call the Cassville Police Department at 417-847-4700.

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