SPEEDWAY, Ind. — In just a week, the bathrooms at the parks in Speedway have seen several incidents of serious vandalism.
“The first thing we noticed was probably Tuesday of last week, the tank lids were being removed and put in the trash can, we didn’t think a whole lot of it, they just put them back,” said Speedway Parks and Rec Director Tammy Smith.
But then she said the vandalism got worse.
“By the end of the week, Sunday specifically, it had escalated to smashing tank lids, smashing the sink, busting a pipe, smashing the soap dispensers off the wall,” Smith said.
The worst of the damage happened in the Meadowood Park women’s restroom, Smith said someone smashed a pipe connected to the sinks and the sink faucet. The damage flooded the bathroom and sent water spraying everywhere.
“There were probably four or five incidents between Tuesday and Sunday,” Smith said.
Smith said they’ve had vandalism before but never to this degree.
“Not stretching out day after day for a week’s time, that has done this much damage and taken this much time to clean up and create thousands of dollars in expenses for us between repairs and replacements,” she said.
At first, she wasn’t sure why all this vandalism was happening but then she saw a post on a national parks and rec Facebook page.
“Somebody had posted, ‘Is anyone having trouble with vandalism in their bathrooms?’ and then there was a multitude of replies referencing the TikTok challenge and also confirming they are seeing the vandalism in their bathrooms as well,” Smith said. “There were dozens of comments.”
That is when she said she realized the same must be happening in her bathrooms.
“It was at that point I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s what’s happening in our bathrooms, these kids are trying to one-up each other,’” she said.
The TikTok trend Smith is talking about is the “Devious Licks” trend. In the past, the trend has caused damage at central Indiana school bathrooms and led leadership to close down some restrooms.
“They think they’re having fun, but they’re really creating a havoc on the whole community,” Smith said.
A spokesperson for the Speedway Police Department said they don’t have enough information to confirm this vandalism is connected to the “devious licks” trend but wants the people who did this to know there can be serious consequences.
“Criminal mischief is the applicable charge typically in a situation like this. it is sometimes a misdemeanor offense but depending on the amount of damage that is caused is can even rise to a felony level,” said Speedway Police Lt. Jim Thiele.
Smith said the vandalism is now forcing them to close their park bathrooms after the morning and early afternoon hours and zip tie the tank lids down to the toilets.
As for whoever did this, Smith said she wants them to reach out to her.
“I would love to put them to work in the park, we’ve got a lot of volunteer work they can do and we could make them busy doing something constructive instead of destructive,” she said.
Smith is asking for help from the people who come to the parks for the right reasons, she said if you see something, say something and call the Speedway Police non-emergency line if you see something that seems suspicious.