Vernon County Sheriff’s Office investigating vandalism at two public park bathrooms

WESTBY, Wis. (WKBT) – The Vernon County Sheriff’s Office is investigating vandalism to two bathrooms that occurred over the weekend at Jersey Valley County Park near Westby.

Toilets, sinks, door handles and bathroom signs in the men’s and women’s restrooms were damaged and smashed during the vandalism.

Those who have to keep the park in good shape say they are feeling frustrated.

“It’s a heartbreaking thing because you put so much time and effort into this job,” Vernon County parks administrator Martin Kennedy said.

Kennedy says he was doing a regular check at Jersey Valley County Park last week.

“I did check the locks that Friday afternoon,” Kennedy said.

But just a couple days later, he received a call from the sheriff’s office saying everything was broken beyond repair.

“99.9 percent of the people are so grateful to have this public space,” Kennedy said. “But there’s that small percentage that break things and ruin things.”

There was another incident at Sidie Hollow County Park near Viroqua during the past few weeks, said Vernon County Deputy Roy Torgerson.

“We received a call that had stolen some copper out of the new shower rooms,” Torgerson said.

The suspect in that case, Joshua Barker, is facing theft of movable property charges.

Barker10 6

Torgerson says he doesn’t know why vandals would cause serious damage to bathrooms.

“If they’re younger individuals, I think it’s a peer (pressure) situation,” Torgerson said.

The situation is a setback for Kennedy’s crew to make improvements to the park.

“We’re starting to maybe get into a pattern. I hope not,” Kennedy said. “If it gets any worse, we’ll have a tough time keeping the facilities open.”

The sheriff’s office is looking for those responsible for vandalizing the property, Torgerson said.

If you have any information, you are asked to call the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office at (608)-637-2123.

You also can remain anonymous by calling Vernon County Crime Stoppers at (608)-637-TIPS.

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