Thieves and vandals ravage Sanger parks

FRESNO, Calif.

At Jenni Park a lot of rubber material used for a walkway has been ripped out. City leaders have shelled out nearly $10,000 to replace the items but money is starting to run out. So that's why officials are now asking Sanger residents to help keep the parks clean and safe.

"This is something we're continually fighting. And this is just an example."

John Mulligan showed us the damage left behind after thieves stole more than a hundred square feet of rubber track material from Jenni Park in Sanger. The Interim Public Works Director and his team have been working overtime in recent weeks to fix this mess as well as a slew of others at city parks.

"They'll put in a lot of work. Work they should be doing on other things. Cleaning up and then the next day it's just redone. Something's torn down or painted on or broken." said Mulligan.

Mulligan says vandals have broken lights, skylights and stolen sprinkler heads.

Public restrooms are also popular targets. Several new toilets and urinals have replaced damaged ones. Ralph Zepeda voiced his frustrations about the ones at J.F.K Park.

"This park's been open for like two years and it didn't even take long for whomever's doing it, destroying our community restrooms." said Zepeda.

Other Valley cities have fallen victim to similar acts of vandalism this year. In March crooks tried to chop a hundred year old palm tree down and others destroyed public restrooms in Reedley. And a week later, thieves stole metal poles and fencing from a popular baseball complex in Dinuba.

Back in Sanger, these kids at Lincoln Park are enjoying a pick-up game of soccer. Two of Carlos Hernandez's sons play here a couple times a week. He's hoping a decrease in vandalism will mean more money is available to upgrade city parks.

"I think it's really important because kids could do more activities instead of just playing regular Nintendo or whatever it is that they play on their TV's." said Hernandez.

Mulligan recently hired a full time maintenance worker to help clean up the graffiti but he says it won't be enough to stop vandalism at the parks unless the community starts taking more ownership of them.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.