Six suspects have been arrested in relation to the acts of vandalism that wrecked havoc on the brand new playground at Mariners Park.
The pirate-themed toys were spray painted with offensive words and two names — Logan and Marissa. Part of the rubberized floor is chewed up as if someone dug into it. The incident occurred between Jan. 2 and Jan. 3.
Prince Rupert RCMP began investigating the incident the morning of Jan. 3 and received valuable information by the afternoon “that there was a group of youth spray painting the top of a vacant building on McBride Street,” Cpl. Devon James Gerrits said in a press release late Wednesday evening.
“The youth [were] located by police, and they were all arrested for mischief. Subsequent to the arrest a large amount of stolen spray paint was located in their possession,” Gerrits said. The police continue to investigate the crime.
Tyler Portelance sent photos into the Northern View, and he also uploaded a video of the damage. A few hours later, he worked with city employees as well as his sister and mother-in-law to clean up most of the mess.
“This act is beyond disrespectful. Thankfully, we know because of the many community members and organizations who worked to make this playground happen that the people who did this are outnumbered in Prince Rupert,” said Veronika Stewart, communications manager for the City of Prince Rupert.
She added that public washrooms were also vandalized. Conrad Elementary School playground was also targeted last night.
“The city has taken steps to improve lighting above the playground, so if anyone saw anything suspicious last night in the area, please report it. We are now working with local RCMP to try to find who is responsible for this awful act of vandalism and hold them accountable,” Stewart said.
The upgrades to the park cost approximately $258,000 through fundraising efforts by the Prince Rupert Lions Club, and support from the Port of Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert LNG, Ridley Terminals and other companies.
Acts of vandalism have plagued this project from the start. On Oct. 17, the City of Prince Rupert issued a release after the third and most significant incident of vandalism slowed construction of the project and added another $15,000 to the budget.
Police are requesting that if anyone saw anything suspicious between Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 near Mariners Park to contact the Prince Rupert RCMP at 250-627-0700.