Vandalism problem growing worse in Winchester

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    The vandalized property at Morgan Field

    Properties in North Dundas have once again been vandalized, the last two incident much more serious than some other recent incidents.

    During the evening or overnight hours of November 10, vandals all but completely destroyed a storage shed that serves the Morgan Field baseball diamond in Winchester.

    A local Facebook user was the first to notice the damage and share news of it online. Township officials quickly took to social media as well, voicing strong condemnation in a post of their own. “Vandals have moved on from spray painting municipal property to simply destroying it,” the Facebook post reads. “The Township of North Dundas is now on the hook for the repair costs and replacement of the broken contents.”

    Taxpayers in the Municipality will ultimately have to foot the bill for any repair costs and the replacement of stolen property, meaning that such vandalism affects everyone.
    Pictures of the damage show multiple boards ripped off of the storage shed, leaving what appears to be about half of the shed without walls.

    The broken pieces are strewn about on the grass around the shed, with the shed’s contents easily visible with no walls to hide then. Some of the board pieces are badly broken. It is not known what damage was done to the contents of the shed, or whether anything inside the shed was taken.

    Social media users were understandably upset by the vandalism, with many calls for local parents to ask their children where they were on the night in question. Calls for serious consequences for the culprits, if caught, were also made.

    While some commentators suggested that security cameras would be good to install in the area, reports suggest that the area in question was, in fact, protected by video surveillance, but that the cameras were also either destroyed or stolen during the crime.

    On November 17, the Township posted yet again, with news that the problem had become even more serious. A vandal had removed a manhole cover on Albert St in Winchester and thrown it down the sewer, leaving a dangerous hole.

    “Costing the Township manpower and money is one thing, but removing manhole covers is just plain dangerous for drivers,” the post read. Luckily, a responsible resident marked the hole with an overturned bucket until the Township could respond, potentially preventing serious injuries or vehicle damage.

    These new acts of vandalism come after a relatively uneventful period following two incidents of vandalism in Chesterville and Winchester on September 21 and 23 respectively.

    Anecdotal reports of abuse of property have been circulating in Winchester for weeks, including an incident where a local landscaping company had dozens of snow markers stolen, frustrating the business owners who had taken the time to place them.

    “The snow markers may only be a buck or so a piece, but when multiple are taken, it sucks,” the business posted to its Facebook page on October 25. “As snow contractors, we face the challenge of staffing, insurance rates going through the roof, and now stolen property making it increasingly difficult to make things worth it.”

    The markers were found in the yard of Winchester Public School and returned to the business.

    As usual, the Township of North Dundas is encouraging anyone with information regarding the November 10 and November 17 incidents to reach out to the Ontario Provincial Police non-emergency telephone line at 1-888-310-1122. However, an update to the original social media post on November 10 suggests that it may be too late for such reports to help.

    “Please note: it is important to contact the OPP directly while concerns of vandalism are taking place,” the Township’s post reads. “The OPP has advised that they need to catch the guilty parties in action. Please don’t wait – help us keep our community protected and vibrant.”

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