WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Wallingford Police Department arrested four juveniles for allegedly setting fire to a playground in October.
Police responded to a suspicious fire Oct. 29 Doolittle Park on Elm Street. The playscape was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived, and there were small fires on a basketball court and in a nearby porta-potty.
Police said that the fires were intentionally set and arrested four male juveniles from Wallingford. Their names were not released due to their ages.
The boys were charged with first-degree criminal mischief and first-degree conspiracy to commit criminal mischief. They are due in court later this month.
Police said it will cost $69,000 to repair the playground. The Wallingford Town Council will discuss the playground replacement in a meeting on Feb. 14.
Wallingford Police Chief John Ventura said there has been an increase in juvenile crime since last year.
Ventura plans to implement initiatives to address these behaviors, including a bicycle ordinance and a Wallingford Juvenile Diversion Program with the Youth and Social Services.
“I understand the frustration of our business community and the citizens of this Town and the
Wallingford Police Department is committed to addressing these juvenile issues and will do
everything we can to curb the behaviors that have been plaguing the hardworking business owners who have already been through so much over the last three years,” Ventura said.
For neighbors, they’re glad the alleged arsonists have been found.
“I’m glad that they caught them,” said Kate Mangini, who lives in Wallingford. “I was here, the cops were patrolling, which made me feel better about bringing my little kids here.”
Sgt. Stephen Jaques said police will also increase patrols in the area. Cameras will also be added.