Caution urged after recent vandalism |

Caution urged after recent vandalism

Vandals have recently targeted a church, historic one-room schoolhouse and new city bus in Glenwood Springs, prompting city officials to urge residents to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.A three-tiered fountain at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church was broken in several pieces and knocked over the night of May 13, and damaged to the point that a new one had to be ordered, said church secretary and housekeeper Lou Gabriel. A police report places the value of the fountain at $2,500.On May 20, officers took a report of vandalism at the old Cardiff school building in south Glenwood. Details weren’t available from police Tuesday, but the damage reportedly involved someone throwing a bike lane sign through a new window of the building, which has been undergoing renovation.Also, someone has been cutting up seats in the rear of the city’s new Ride Glenwood bus, said Ken Osier, director of maintenance for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority.”It makes you sick that here’s a brand-new bus that’s a couple of months old and it’s already been destroyed in the back,” he said.Glenwood police Lt. Bill Kimminau said the bus also has been subject to vandalism in recent months ranging from cigarette burns to kicked-in seats.City Council member Chris McGovern worries about the amount of recent vandalism, which also includes the occasional “tagging” by spray painters. She wonders if it’s time for the city as a whole to participate in a “neighborhood watch” type program aimed at cutting down on vandalism.She encourages people to be vigilant and call police if they see a vandal in action or even urge the vandal to stop if doing so doesn’t put them in danger.”It makes me wonder if there is someone who is riding the bus who has seen people take knives out and carve up the upholstery. Have they seen things and not said anything?” McGovern said.”As a community we really do need to stand up and say this is wrong to destroy and take advantage of people’s work and money and time and effort.”Kimminau said it helps if people use security lighting, become familiar with their neighbors so they know if strangers are in the area, and call police right away if vandalism is occurring.”Sometimes it takes getting involved. A lot of people don’t want to get involved,” Kimminau said.Despite the recent incidents, vandalism reports are actually down significantly so far this year. Kimminau said 54 reports have been made to date this year, compared to 102 over the same period last year. However, some incidents may be going unreported, he said.Police tend to see more vandalism in the spring and summer when people are out more, especially at night, he said.On May 7, Kimminau said, police caught a youth with spray paint in his pocket where tagging had occurred at the skateboard facility at Two Rivers Park. The same graffiti – a skull painted with the aid of a cardboard stencil – also had been found at Veltus Park. The youth has been charged in municipal court with criminal mischief.Some youths also were arrested recently after breaking into the home of neighbors who were on vacation and trashing the house during a party, he said.Both the Cardiff school and St. Stephen’s have been the occasional targets of vandals in the past. McGovern, who is a member of St. Stephen’s, called the destruction of the fountain “pretty hurtful.” She said such actions are hard to understand.”Is it the have-nots just venting against the haves? It’s hard to say. Or is it just people who are drunk? Who knows? It’s really tough to explain.”

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