July 1, 2011
Several fireworks stands have fallen victim to vandals and thieves this week. Overnight, thieves targeted the Valley Center Wholesale Fireworks building. The break-in came just days after vandals reportedly damaged two separate tents in one night, one in Valley Center, the other in Park City.
The Pleasant Valley Lions Club is operating the stand where the tent was damaged in Park City. It was so heavily damaged after someone cut holes in it, that the tent had to be replaced before the club could begin business.
In Valley Center, the Riverlawn Christian Church youth group stand was also damaged.
"Our tent was ready to go and I guess they wanted to set us back and they set us back a little bit but we kept going," said Riverlawn Christian Church Youth Sponsor Ryan Selenke.
The vandalism forced both groups to do extra work before they could open.
"Wednesday was a very very crazy day. Putting the tent up and setting up fireworks in the same day is very hectic," said Selenke.
Who did the damage and why they did it, is still under investigation.
"...whether somebody had a specific motive against this company or this person. So that's part of our investigation angle to try to determine that," said Valley Center Police Chief Mark Hephner.
But at Wholesale Fireworks in Valley Center, police believe they already know why thieves broke through a glass door, causing more than $1300 in damage and stealing over $800 worth of fireworks.
"That's more directly related to somebody wanted to have fireworks I think," said Hephner.
It's the third year in a row Wholesale Fireworks on Meridian has had the same problem. The string of crime is the reason why the building now has an alarm system.
It's also why most tents have someone camping out to to keep guard overnight, hoping to insure the rest of their holiday weekend will be crime free.
"We'll definitely be on guard for anything that's going to happen," said Selenke.