HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Staff at the Mark Twain House have stopped replacing the broken windows.
“Bricks, broken glass — we have cleaned up a lot of the glass at this point, we haven’t happened to take the bricks out just yet,” said Pieter Roos, the museum’s executive director. “The second time they threw chunks of asphalt through the window, and the first time they threw some tiny rocks.”
The house has been vandalized three times — right before Christmas, on New Year’s Eve and then again on Tuesday. The damage, Roos said, keeps escalating.
The house is one of the state’s biggest tourist attractions. And, Roos said, crime couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“We are in the middle of a big woodworking and paint restoration project where we are going to repaint the whole house in the spring,” he said. “We had just restored all the woodworking and those windows were all just restored.”
Video footage shows three people wearing dark clothing throwing bricks from the garden through the windows. While the house had security before, it is now adding more.
Roos said police have some leads on who is behind the vandalism. But for now, it will cost $20,000 to replace the windows and a rare statue that was damaged.
“Nobody should do that,” said Rachel Hedley, of Darien. “It took so much to restore this house and open it to the public.”
The home has a GoFundMe campaign to try and absorb the cost. Roos said the museum was already trying to recover from the pandemic when this meant another hit to the budget.
Despite the damage, the home remains open to visitors.
As of Thursday evening, the GoFundMe has raised $6,200 of its $20,000 goal.