HAZARD—County officials said it was thanks to new surveillance cameras installed at the Perry County Park that police now have four individuals in custody in relation to two burglary incidents that happened in the park over the weekend.
Captain Jason Duff with the Hazard Police Department said two well used park establishments were burglarized on Friday and Saturday nights.
“We received a call about 5 a.m. (on Sunday) from someone who is in charge of opening the gates of the morning at the Perry County Park,” Duff said. “When he opened them up he saw a TV sitting out, a large, probably about a 70- or 75-inch screen TV, sitting out in the lawn next to the senior citizens’ center. So, obviously that was a red flag, so he called the police.”
Officers searched the building and found that the front doors had been pried open. Officials for the center were called to the scene to see what had been taken.
“They had a computer that was stolen and then also a bag of keys were taken,” Duff said.
Further investigation revealed that one of the center’s vans, used to transport seniors to and from the center as well as any appointments or shopping needs they may have, had had the front end completely smashed. Duff said the van had been used as a battering ram to open the gates across from the Perry County Extension Office, leading down the hill to Perry County Central High School.
“They had knocked it open. It caused extensive damage to that van,” Duff explained. “They brought that van back and parked it, got in another van and drove off.”
Randy Bailey, judge-executive pro-tem for the county, was one of the officials called to see the damage done to the center. He said it was when he was leaving the park that morning that he noticed a broken window in the concession stand at the Little League field and discovered the second break-in of the weekend.
“There is an extensive amount of damage,” Bailey said. “The glass doors in the coolers were all busted out. The printer was busted on the floor. They pulled the lights out of the ceiling, the ceiling tiles, basically just wrecked the place.”
Bailey said after reviewing video surveillance from the stand, he discovered it had actually been broken in to on Friday night.
Bill Cottongame, with the Hazard Perry County Little League, said this was not the first time the concession stand had been broken in to. In July of this year, just after the season had ended, a 42-inch TV was taken, however, that loss cannot compare to the amount of damage the stand received during this break-in.
“More or less they just destroyed it,” he said. “It’s going to take us a while to get it fixed back, but we’ll get it fixed back.”
Cottongame said the burglars took an air conditioning window unit along with first-aid items from the stand, but destroyed nearly everything else that was in the building, including new ceiling tiles, light fixtures, a popcorn machine, and two refrigerated coolers. The vandals even took time out to make and drink Slushies from the league’s Slushie machine.
“It’s just a shame that somebody’d do this,” he said. “We take a lot of pride in keeping our ball fields and stuff going. About all of it is volunteer.”
Cottongame said the league is not sure what the damage will cost to fix at this time since its insurance agent has not been able to evaluate it, but said he was sure it was in excess of $10,000.
After reviewing surveillance footage from the cameras in the park as well as at the concession stand, Duff said officers were able to determine the same individuals were involved in each incident and that they had gone to a home in one of the trailer parks next to the county park.
Duff said three juveniles were taken into custody Sunday, and have been charged with third-degree burglary, first-degree criminal mischief, and theft by unlawful taking in both cases.
Glenda Dailey, the fourth individual charged and the apparent mother to one of the juveniles, was arrested after a search warrant was executed at her residence in the trailer park and items from both burglary incidents were found, including the air conditioning unit from the stand and a computer from the center.
Dailey is facing one count receiving stolen property under $10,000, once count possession of marijuana, and one count possession of drug paraphernalia.
“The city police did an excellent job and the cameras that we’ve installed did what they were supposed to do,” Bailey said.
County officials installed surveillance cameras throughout the park this summer, Bailey said, in order to help make the park a safer and more welcoming place for people in the community.
“We’ve had quite a bit of vandalism in the park and maybe this will show them that we will catch them to deter some of that vandalism,” Bailey said. “It may scare the next ones off from coming back. We will catch them.”