COLUMBUS, Ind. (June 15, 2015) -- Thieves with a sweet tooth have the city of Columbus on its last nerve.
Someone's been breaking into the city's concession stand at Clifty Park, stealing candy and drinks from inside. There have been six break-ins since early May, doing upwards of $3,000 in damage.
"(It's) extremely frustrating," Parks and Recreation Director Mark Jones said. "Whoever’s doing it is just simply hurting the kids."
The stand, which operates up to seven nights a week during baseball games and tournaments, goes to benefit city programs.
Jones said there is typically one break-in per summer, but this time it's unusual. The thieves seem to be using a crow bar or other item to pry open the locked door, then grabbing whatever they can get.
"They’re not taking entire boxes, they’re just taking handfuls of miscellaneous stuff," Jones said.
In particular, each break-in has included a higher number of stolen purple Skittles packets.
"We’ve taken inventory on everything. It seems like Skittles is the big candy they’re taking," Jones said.
The crime was funny at first, but now the city isn't laughing. Jones said the money will have to be made up and it could be at the cost of programming.
For parents like Andy Larson, whose kids play baseball several times a week at the park, the break-ins are annoying.
"I think it’s silly. ... They’re stealing Skittles so it’s not like they’re in it to profit. They seem to be just bored," Larson said.
Jones said an employee caught a man trying to break in last Thursday, but didn't get a good description. He told parents to be on the lookout and hoped anyone with information would contact Columbus Police.