CUMBERLAND, Ind. — Vandals smashed and burned a Cumberland park, doing an estimated $20,000 in damages. Now the teens believed to be involved are being questioned by police.
“We are hearing at least they are showing some remorse. It’s looking like they want to do something to remedy that,” said Sgt. Mark Waggoner, a detective with the Cumberland Police Department (CPD).
The damages happened last weekend at Lions Park. City officials said the destruction lasted several hours from Saturday evening into Sunday morning. Police said at least one teen poured gasoline down a slide, and lit it on fire. The park’s tennis court and net were also burned. A $20,000 mural was spray painted with obscenities. A $4,500 drinking fountain was smashed down to its base.
“I have been here 15 years, and this is the single worst night of vandalism we have ever seen here in town,” said Cumberland Town Manager Benjamin Lipps.
“I hate that someone would decide to take advantage of this nice location,” said Darla Gibson who lives near the park. “I come out to walk here early in the morning. There are people out here as early as 7:30 a.m. taking walks. We have noticed that when there is more traffic going through, there is less riff raff that is going on.”
Thanks to tips and surveillance video from the public, police were able to identify all four teens involved. They have questioned three of the four teens. So far, police said the children are cooperating with investigators.
“Seems like they were regretful. I don’t think they really understood exactly what they were doing and thought it was going to be fun prank and got carried away,” continued Sgt. Waggoner. “I think it was just a poor immature decision by some young kids who haven’t had the full brain development.”
The city was in the process of beefing up security at the park. This includes improved lighting and cameras. Workers had just finished Phase One of the upgrades before the teens smashed an electrical panel. Now Phase Two will face setbacks.
Cumberland police are talking with the Hancock County prosecutors office regarding potential charges. CPD believes the teens could face charges of criminal mischief and possibly arson.