Scottish Rite Center The Target Of Repeat Vandalism

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One of Wichita's most iconic buildings appears to be the target of a daring vandal that has caused thousands of dollars in damage. The Scottish Rite Center in Downtown Wichita has been the site of several attacks in the last few weeks.

The vandal has thrown rocks and bricks through the stained glass doors; even using a flaming roll of paper towels in an attempt to burn the inside.

The Scottish Rite Center has been in existence in Wichita for about 125 years, so to see someone break the windows and try to damage the beautiful artwork is astonishing to a lot of people.

"We came in one morning about three weeks ago and found that a brick had been thrown through one window," said facilities coordinator Dorothy Harmon

But then it happened again and again. Tuesday morning was the fourth time someone had shattered the intricate glass on the original doors of the building. With each attack, it gets more brazen.

"I was walking up the steps and heard a crash and didn't know what it was," Harmon explained. "Tony was up here and he rushed back and saw all the glass."

The evidence left behind was shocking. A chunk of concrete brick and a roll of paper towels that had been set on fire. It damaged the carpet, but the flames did not spread.

"It's not just one piece," said maintenance manager Tony Nelzen. "You have six pieces of glass just from this one."

The Scottish Rite Center in Wichita stands for so much... donating to children's charities each and every year. It's tough to have to spend money that is so hard to come by on needless repairs, according to the staff.

"There is a love down here and when you've been here and been a part of it and see what it does, you grow to love this place and what it stands for," said executive secretary Jim Davenport.

If you have any information on who has been targeting the Scottish Rite Center for the last few weeks, you can call Wichita/Sedgwick County Crimestoppers at (316) 267-2111. Nobody will ever ask your name and you could be eligible for a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest or conviction.

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