Local Boy Scout fundraiser damaged after vandals do up to $25,000 worth of damage to Garfield County Fairgrounds’ kitchen
A local Boy Scout troop lost out on fundraiser money after the Garfield County Fairgrounds were broken into the night before a two-day convention.
Based out of New Castle and Silt, Boy Scout Troop 221 was scheduled to sell food at the 43rd Annual Sportsman’s Days Convention last weekend.
“We went in Thursday night to the fairgrounds in Rifle and we prepped all of the food to get it all ready for the event,” Boy Scout Troop 221 Committee Member David Souders said. “Around one o’clock in the morning, a group of kids broke into the fairgrounds building and they let off three fire extinguishers.”
Souders said the perpetrators allegedly pulled the prepped food out of the facility’s cooler, all of which was later ruined after being coated in firefighting chemicals.
The contaminated food that was discarded included 140 pounds of pork, 28 pounds of grapes and over 200 cookies.
Souders, who owns the New Castle Diner, said thanks to the Rifle Boy Scout Troop, which lent its cooking trailer and parents that brought down their own grills, the troop was at least able to cook and sell hamburgers to the event’s patrons.
According to Souders the scout troop had hoped to raise $2,500 over the course of the Friday and Saturday event. However, as a result of the break in the troop hoped to break even.
“The boy scouts paid for the food,” Souders said. “Some of the food was donated but the food that was donated did not get damaged.”
“From what I understand, they have some video footage,” Souders said of the incident, which at least portions of was caught on film.
Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein said that the case was currently under investigation.
“The fire extinguisher was sprayed, ruining food items that were in the kitchen as well as doing significant damage to the facility,” said Klein.
According to Garfield County Chief Communications Officer Renelle Lott, the estimated cost to clean the facility will likely amount to between $10,000 and $25,000.
“That [fire extinguisher] dust has to be removed out of all of the kitchen equipment, all of the venting, everything,” Lott said. “Otherwise it could land on food so it has to be an extensive clean.”
“We do have a small gap here but it is a busy place,” Lott said.
Although the incident has inconvenienced day-to-day operations at the fairgrounds, Lott said that as of now all upcoming events were still scheduled as planned.
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