For the second time in less than a week, the Paul Klover Soccer Association’s concession stand has been vandalized and burglarized.
Unknown suspects broke into the Clover Dell Park concession stand some time between the morning of Sunday, Sept. 13 and around 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14. Vandals struck again, most likely Friday night, causing even more damage than the first incident and stealing more candy and Gatorade.
“They broke in the opposite window of last time, they actually used a back post from a goal and managed to wedge it into the window and broke the counter off completely. There was a little more property damage this time than last,” said PKSA Board President Amanda Blackburn. “I’m still in shock we’ve had two (incidents) in one week and this has not been a common occurrence at Clover Dell.
“This time there was lots of Gatorade all over the floor. They damaged the cash register; we have some scissors and a few knives in there, and they broke them trying to pry open the register, which actually just had pennies inside. So no cash was taken, but the cash register is destroyed.”
Clover Dell has a gate that closes the park each night, with boulders on each side to prevent vehicles from driving into the park at night. Blackburn said they believe the first incident happened during the day because the suspects most likely pulled up to the stand to pack up cases of items. This weekend’s incident most likely happened at night because they took “what looks like what could fit in backpacks,” she said.
This time it was a Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department employee who found the mess and contacted Blackburn. Sedalia Police Department officers took fingerprints off the goal post used to break the window in hopes of catching a suspect.
Parks and Rec Director Mark Hewett said occurrences like this one are somewhat common in City of Sedalia parks. The department has security guards who patrol each park every day, along with Guardsman Security, who locks the park gates each night and opens them each morning and locks the bathrooms.
While there is security, Hewett said it can be hard to secure parks from crime since there are so many access points. Bathrooms are often vandalized, and subjects break into the Centennial and Liberty Park pools each summer. Parks and Rec just fixed the south concession window at Centennial Pool last week after someone pushed it in. Pool break-ins are down this year though after alarm systems were installed at both locations.
While park crime may be common, he noted it is less common at Clover Dell since it is farther away than other parks.
“We’ll probably have Parks security go out (to Clover Dell) more,” he said. “If someone is really watching it, they know when we’re there and when they’re not, and in most parks there’s so many ways in and so many ways out. It might be possible we’re getting some kids walking in, then you almost can’t detect where they’re coming from. We are keeping close tabs.”
Hewett said vandalism and burglary in Sedalia parks “comes and goes, some times it’s worse than others.”
Blackburn said the association is working with the Parks Department on possible precautions to prevent further crime at Clover Dell, and she hoped it wouldn’t come to the association closing down concessions.
If you have any information regarding this incident, call the Sedalia Police Department at 660-826-8100 or Blackburn at 660-281-6455.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.