Vandals ransack ballpark concession stand

Athletic Association rep: 'Thugs' tried to set building on fire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A string of crimes is being investigated at an Argyle Forest baseball park where boys as young as 4 play tee ball.

Someone has been vandalizing the concession stand at the Argyle Athletic Association, home of the Argyle Forest All Stars, and in the latest crime, the vandals attempted to burn the building down.

"It's just plain destructive is what it is," said Jeff Schmidt, of the association.

IMAGES: Concession stand in disarray

Vandals broke into the concession stand twice, and the association is out thousands of dollars.

"I would have rather you stole from me. I can replace that," Schmidt said. "But when you come in and damage a place and try to burn it down, you've come into the thug category. You just don't care."

Schmidt said that last Monday vandals ransacked the place, even defecating and urinating before they left. Then on Thursday night, they came back again and tried to set the building on fire.

"This time they went a step further and took all my paper towels, and put them in the trash can and set them on fire," Schmidt said.

He said the entire concession stand would have burned down, but it got so hot in there that a pipe on a water heater melted and water began spewing everything, putting the fire out.

The vandals gained entry through a concession stand window and, in the end, ruined more than $1,000 worth of food and equipment, a hard lesson for the kids who will play at the park. Parents say it seems so unfair.

"It's really disheartening because we bring our kids here to play baseball to teach them good morals and characteristics, it teaches them confidence, to make good decisions," Heather Vaughn said. "To have someone destroy something for no reason, it doesn't make sense to them."

The Argyle Athletic Association pays for the upkeep of the field and all the equipment that comes along with the game. Schmidt said the vandalism will set the association back several months, and it is considering other fundraising options.

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