By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Joy rides on newly sodded fields. Smashed steps. Portable bathrooms knocked over.
Middletown’s park system took some destructive and costly hits this past week as targets of vandalism, police said.
They aren’t sure who’s behind the thrashings yet, but they’re offering a cash reward for anybody who can lead to an arrest and conviction.
In an email from the town’s Deputy Chief Craig Weber:
Middletown Police report that a number of Parks and Recreation facilities have been damaged and vandalized during the past week.
Among the damaged facilities were two baseball fields at Middletown Thompson Park including the Challenger Youth baseball field, which is intended for the use of athletes with special needs. Middletown Thompson Park is located on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft. Newly-sodded soccer fields at the Fairview Soccer Fields on Oak Hill Rd. were extensively damaged by unknown persons joy riding on the fields. Baseball and softball fields at Normandy Park on Nut Swamp Rd., and Applebrook Park on Iler Drive, were also damaged by unknown vehicles being driven on the fields. In addition, a portable outdoor bathroom located at Lincroft Acres Park on Orchard Hill Drive, Lincroft was damaged after it was intentionally struck by a vehicle and knocked over. A park bench, concrete steps and hand railing in Tindall Park, Tindall Road have also been destroyed.
Parks in Middletown are generally closed to the public at dusk, unless permission is obtained from the Parks and Recreation Dept. or the facility is lighted and specifically designated for after hour use. Police are asking citizens to call and report any suspicious activities or incidents of people misusing or damaging Township Parks and Recreation facilities or property.
The Middletown Policemens Benevolent Association is offering a reward of $500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for damaging the Parks.
Anyone who sees suspicious activity or has any information related to the vandalism is asked to call police at 732.615.2100.