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Messy vandals strike Janesville concession stands

Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:34:06 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 09 2013 04:06:21 PM CST


Police said the search is on for people who vandalized nearly a dozen concession stands in area parks.

In some cases the criminals are breaking in to trash the place.

Now that football and baseball games are done for the season, concession stand buildings are vacant. Police said that creates a sense of urgency to catch the culprits.

"There are games going on here from April to October," said Aaron Ellis, VP of Janesville Youth Baseball. Janesville's baseball diamonds are silent now that fall has settled in.

But David Ellis, chief groundskeeper at the youth baseball fields, is concerned vandals may strike again.

"[There was] ketchup and relish and popcorn seeds splattered all over the walls, all over the coolers, all over the floor," David Ellis said. He said both the boys and girls concession stands were hit and it was frustrating cleaning up the mess.

"The sad part is we had already shut the water off and drained the water for the whole building, so I had to bring water from home to clean everything up and mop the floors," the groundskeeper added.

Janesville police said during the last three to four months, concession stands all over the city have been hit, including Dawson Field south of downtown.

Lt. Keith Lawver said power tools are among some of the items that have been stolen. Investigators believe all of the burglaries and vandalism cases are related.

"We're definitely keeping our eyes open in the parks (using) extra patrols as well as asking folks to pass on any information they get that they think would be helpful for us," Lawver said.

About 750 area youth ages 8 to 16 use the sports complex out on Wuthering Hills Drive.

Aaron Ellis said he's disappointed the organization has had to spend around $1,000 replacing locks at the burglarized buildings. 

"We're a volunteer organization, we raise our own money through fundraisers," Aaron Ellis said. "It's sad when we have to put our money for things like that when we could be using it for the kids that play out here in our program."

Anyone with information is asked to call Janesville Area Crime Stoppers at 608-756-3636. If your tip leads to an arrest and criminal charges you could be eligible for a reward.

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