Crystal police seek vandals who trashed recreation center - KMSP-TV

Crystal police seek vandals who trashed Becker Park Activity Center

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Investigators in Crystal, Minn., are hoping some DNA and fingerprint evidence collected at a popular parks and recreation center will lead them to the vandals who left thousands of dollars in damage.

At the moment, no suspects have been identified, but the evidence collected from the Becker Park Activity Center has police feeling hopeful they will catch the culprits.

"They set off three or four fire extinguishers," Park Superintendent Rick Rauen said. "Chairs have been thrown around."

Rauen stumbled on the expensive mess on Christmas Eve.

"There used to be a large mirror along this wall," he said. "It was completely destroyed."

While checking the warming houses in the smaller buildings to make sure the furnaces were still working, Rauen found broken ovens and doors.

"They spent a good deal of time in here," he said.

There are no signs of forced entry, and investigators are still working to determine how the vandals managed to get inside before going on their rampage.

"We did find an open window," Rauen explained, "but there is some disagreement on whether or not they went in that way."

Although the investigation is still in its early stages, Crystal Police Lt. Dave Oyaas told Fox 9 News they have already collected important evidence.

"It was more than one person, just based on the footprints that were left behind," he said. "Latent prints and DNA was collected, and in my opinion, it's not a matter of if but when someone is willing to talk."

Police are also offering a bit of incentive. There is a $500 reward for the tip that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case.

The recreation center plays host to bingo night and birthday parties, and it also functions as a makeshift animal hospital once a month.

"Some days we will do 50 surgeries per day, so we actually do the spay-neuter surgeries," Dana Andresen said.

For now, clean-up will be the priority, but figuring out where to come up with the cash for repairs will come shortly thereafter. City officials are currently trying to find the funds, but with repairs estimated in the thousands, it's likely the expenditure will mean something else must be cut.

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