Juveniles vandalize Mishawaka Parks again; police speak out
MISHAWAKA, Ind.-- A recent uptick in vandalism across Mishawaka parks are forcing police to crack down on juvenile suspects.
Central park alone had four incidents in one week.
Tuesday night, Merrifield Park was hit as well.
“We’re not going to stand for you to come here and damage our parks," said Mishawaka Police Lieutenant, Tim Williams. "Our hand dryers were taken off the wall, damage was done to the rock pillars. Fire started in the bathroom with cardboard and toilet paper.”
Mishawaka Police released the stills above of the juveniles they believe are responsible for the damage.
Their faces are blurred because they’re all under 18.
You can see one of the teens were caught on camera with a carton of eggs used to trash one of the bathrooms at Merrifield Park.
Police believe they’ve identified all involved across both parks.
“Six to ten juveniles are involved. It seems to be the same juveniles doing the damage at all the areas that we have seen," said Williams.
“We try to buy equipment that’s vandal proof and that cost more money because some of that stuff is custom made," said Parks Superitendent Phil Blasko.
Which makes replacing it all more expensive, but where’s that money going to come from?
“It’s going to come from our tax payers. Anywhere from four to six thousand dollars to our parks facilities and it’s unacceptable," said Williams.
Mishawaka PD are now set to increase patrol through the parks, but they’re also asking for the public's help.
“We are also asking the public to help as well. If you see something, say something. You’re the first line to help us stop this. So if you see something, say something. Let us approach the juveniles and take care of the issue so that way we get this done," said Williams.
Mishawaka police have forwarded their findings to the St. Joseph county Prosecutors Office.
If charged, those teens could be looking at juvenile criminal recklessness, vandalism and even arson charges.
The teens could also be banned from Mishawaka parks for a year and their parents could be ordered to foot the bill.