Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


October 2, 2013

Wrong message: Rec center vandalism unacceptable

— — Those individuals responsible for a recent and senseless act of vandalism to the Green Valley Recreation Center should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. At this point, we don’t know who is responsible for defacing the facility. But whoever is responsible for the crime — adult or juvenile — certainly should have known better.

This local recreational center is utilized by children and adults across the Green Valley area. What kind of message does this act of vandalism send to area children who utilize the facility? Using black spray paint, messages ranging from “crack head” to “cop killer” were emblazoned across the building, according to Lt. Joe Parks of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.

Damage to the property was estimated at $1,500. That’s enough to make it a felony destruction of property offense. And that’s punishable by both jail time and a significant fine.

If juveniles were responsible for this act of vandalism, then their parents should share in the blame. Parents have a responsibility to teach their children the difference between right and wrong. And vandalizing a local youth center is definitely wrong.

“It’s just a shame that somebody does something for the community, and a couple of people decide to make a real bad statement to the good people who use it,” Parks said. “Very disappointing. It’s there for the youth to use, and not in this way. It’s kind of a slap in the face for the property owner.”

We agree. The property owner has offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this act of vandalism. Anyone with information regarding the incident is urged to contact the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department at 304-487-8364.

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