RUPERT, W.Va (WOAY) – Since the park opened up in the spring, there have been five break-ins and four acts of vandalism at Rupert’s Village Park.
“One break-in, they just busted the door down and nothing was done,” Rupert Mayor Stephen Baldwin said. “Then three other times the doors were busted down and they just destroyed the toilets sometimes the sinks and everything in the bathrooms. One other time the shelter over there was broken into and they took the fire extinguisher and sprayed the fire extinguisher all over the shelter, the picnic tables and everything.”
The most recent act of vandalism that occurred about a week ago left the toilet in their locked bathrooms destroyed. Although no one has stolen anything yet, this will be the third time the town has had to replace the toilet.
“Obviously there’s nothing in here but equipment for children and having to patrol a place like this is sad and we shouldn’t have to do that,” Rupert Police Chief Nathan Jeffries said. “This is a place where people should be able to bring their kids and enjoy themselves and play after school and now those hours at the park will be closed and they will no longer be able to do that so my message again is congratulations to whoever is doing this. You’re ruined it for a bunch of children. I hope you’re proud.”
Typically the park is open until 9 p.m. giving kids who get off from school plenty of time to play but until the town gets this figured out, the park will close at 5 p.m. This is when the water company, who oversees the park, leaves for the day. The park will still open at 8 a.m.
“That’s a temporary issue but until we can get some kind of security and surveillance equipment and stuff up here to where we can catch these people then it’s going to remain that way,” Baldwin said.
The mayor will be meeting with a security company on Thursday. If you have any information on who could be doing this you are advised to call Rupert Town Hall or the police department. Officials say if you see anyone in the act to immediately call 911.