Local recreation center vandalized, summer campers and counselors shaken


Vandals smashed 10 windows with baseball bats Wednesday night at a local recreation center leaving summer campers and camp counselors asking why.

Surveillance video of the scene shows people approach the center from the south, and use baseball bats to hit the windows. Wichita police said it caused about $5,000 in damage.

"It's very disappointing," said Officer Kevin Wheeler of the Wichita Police Department. "We like people to be productive in life and obviously this is causing a lot of pain for people, these windows are going to have to be replaced."

Plywood is standing in place of the windows right now, and according to Alan Taber, director of recreation at the center, it has weighed heavily on camp counselors and young campers.

"It's just infuriating that someone would take the time to just to do vandalism just to be doing vandalism," Taber said.

Police have not established a motive yet, and Taber said he worries about what the children and their families are thinking,

"It's frustrating, especially the parents, you know, they're going what are we sending our kids to you know, what's around the neighborhood," he said.

Occasional damage has occurred previously according to Taber, but never this bad. According to Kevin Wheeler, there have also been other calls of vandalism in that area recently.

"Six of them were from vehicles, one was from a church where these windows had basically been damaged," Wheeler said.

It hasn't affected any camp activities at the time, but Taber said he has had to deny people access to the rooms where the windows are broken because they rent them out. While waiting is all they can do, Taber said he is using this as a teaching moment for the children.

"They've got to come and see it, and, and realize that it shouldn't look like this," he said. "That this is our park too, it's everybody's park."

No arrests have been made at the time and the crime is still under investigation.