Thousands of dollars in damage done to park

Nik Dirga

TRUCKEE – The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information regarding recent sprees of vandalism at Truckee River Regional Park.

Over the last two weekends, thousands of dollars in damage has been done at the park, including spray painting and destruction of property.

“We’ve had about $5,000 of damage due to vandalism over the past two weeks,” said Bob Bolton, Truckee River Regional Park superintendent.

“That’s basically been smashed picnic tables, drinking fountains torn off the walls and spray painting all over the place.”

While periodic vandalism isn’t uncommon, the extent of this recent damage was surprising to park officials.

“We’ve just been nailed hard the last two weeks,” said Bolton.

Among the damage was several broken park benches and vandalism to the bathrooms.

The symbols that have been spray-painted around the park are usually identified with gang activity, said Nevada County Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Smith.

“It’s gang-related,” he said. “They usually depict gang symbols, the barrio they’re with and their gang name.”

The vandalism may not be the work of gang members, but rather teens who have been influenced by gang publicity.

The Truckee Donner Parks and Recreation District has a zero tolerance policy for vandalism, said Bolton.

“We will not hesitate to pursue full legal action against anyone caught in this behavior,” he said.

There will also be increased patrols at area parks.

“We have now increased patrols of our parks with our staff to deter further vandalism,” said Bolton. “I am asking the NCSO to increase their patrols also.”

Starting in mid-May, Truckee River Regional Park does have park hosts who live on-site in campers and who often serve as added security at the park.

Bolton said that the vandalism is not only costly, but it takes up valuable work time for park crews.

“Any time our facilities get vandalized, our policy is for immediate removal and cleanup,” he said. “This type of work pulls us away from our other improvement projects.

“Everybody loses when the parks get vandalized because it takes a lot of time to clear up. It just slows down the whole process.”

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the case.

“We’re asking anyone who might have any information that would be helpful to come forward,” said Smith.

Anyone with information regarding the vandalism in Truckee River Regional Park is encouraged to contact Nevada County Sheriff’s Office at 582-7838.

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