STUART, Fla. — Martin County detectives are trying to figure out who is responsible for vandalizing several parks over the Fourth of July weekend, resulting in potentially $10,000 worth of damage.
Detective Ben Lisle said four parks were hit in six cases of vandalism.
Lisle said fireworks were used to blow up toilets, sinks and soap dispensers. The bathrooms were also tagged with graffiti, at times profane or graphic.
“We try to prevent them as best we can,” Lisle said about vandalism at local parks.
He said it is not uncommon to see vandalism on holidays, particularly New Year's Eve, at parks.
“I would say as far as vandalisms go, this would be a larger vandalism spree to have six cases over a weekend is not a normal thing,” Lisle said.
He and a couple of deputies spent time Tuesday photographing the damage and collecting evidence.
Incident reports show the vandalism was reported at Pendarvis Cove Park, likely on July 3. Jock Leighton Park was vandalized likely on July Fourth. Mary Brogan Park was reportedly vandalized around July Fourth or Fifth, as well as Sandsprit Park.
Vandalism to the Stuart water tower might also be connected given similarities in the graffiti.
The city of Stuart may consider installing surveillance cameras near the tower. Stuart police are also investigating that vandalism.
“It could affect all of us. The county does a good job, the parks are open to all of us, but enough is enough and they could potentially start locking the doors and making it more restrictive to us,” said Major John Budensiek with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
He also believes the vandal or vandals might be local.
“Somebody was probably a little more familiar with these parks than an outside person,” Budensiek said.
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information about who might be responsible for the damage to contact authorities.
They could face felony charges because of the value of the damage.