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'Makes me sad': Two Laurel city parks vandalized in less than a week

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Posted at 5:41 PM, Sep 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-05 19:41:48-04

LAUREL — Laurel is being hit with a vandalism spree. A swastika made of stickers was found in the bathroom at Kiwanis Park over the weekend, and on Tuesday morning, a hole was found cut into the slide at Thomson Park.

Laurel resident Amy Unruh and her son Oscar love to visit Kiwanis Park.

“Kid’s Kingdom is a great park. They just put in a bunch of attractions, and it’s a lot of fun for my boys,” said Unruh on Tuesday.

 Over the weekend, some unsavory guests paid a visit to the park as well.

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Amy and Oscar Unruh enjoy Kiwanis Park

“I wasn’t very surprised because I noticed some vandalism, garbage vandalism before, but it makes me sad,” Unruh said.

The Laurel Police Department was called to the park Sunday morning to find a trashed restroom, phallic imagery on the walls, and a stickered-on swastika.

“Isolated in the sense that I don’t think there’s a large threat of that type of symbolism or ideal obviously. It’s in every area and community, but it’s shocking to us because that doesn’t represent us,” said Laurel Police Chief Stan Langve.

The restroom has been cleaned up, and the investigation is ongoing.

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“We do believe they are juveniles and so there’s a little sensitivity of what you can put out there," Langve said.

But it’s not the end of Laurel’s vandalism woes as a hole was found in the slide at Thomson Park Tuesday morning.

“Kind of strange. I’ve never seen somebody cut holes into things, but we’ll patch it up and fix it and I will order a new slide,” said Laurel Public Works Director Matt Wheeler.

Wheeler says the vandalism is more than just a recurring nuisance.

“What it does is, yeah we clean them up, but it takes away from the stuff that we’d like to be doing. Fixing all this is pointless,” Wheeler said.

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It’s why Langve has been looking into new surveillance technology for the city.

“Ironically enough, I just received the demo equipment last week. And so hoping to get that implemented and get that to council to see if this is the platform we want to move ahead with going into the future,” said Langve.

Unruh hopes it’s the last she’ll see of it, for her son’s sake.

“Those bathrooms are very well used by little boys that have to go to the bathroom a lot, so it’d be a shame if they had to be locked up or anything,” Unruh said.