WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The lawn of Library Park was vandalized Wednesday, and Waterbury police are trying to find the ATV and dirt bike operators responsible.
Police said they were called to Silas Bronson Library on Grand Street at around 1:10 p.m. Wednesday on a criminal mischief complaint.
Police were told three people on two ATV quads and one dirt bike were riding through the park, damaging the lawn. Tread marks can be seen throughout the field and tire marks can be found on the sidewalk, according to police.
Mark Lombardo, the deputy director of Waterbury’s Department of Public Works, told News 8 Thursday, “We really take pride in our parks and public spaces clean.”
Melvin Rodriguez, an ATV enthusiast in Waterbury, said of the riders who damaged the park, “You shouldn’t do that. This is a community where you guys live in.”
Lombardo showed News 8 the damage Thursday. The damage appears to be limited to one spot, but Lombardo says that’s not the point.
“I think people come out here and see all the work that’s been done to this park and then see what kind of disrespect that the park received.”
The park has been undergoing a $2-million facelift, which includes new sidewalks, sitting areas, and all new turf.
“It gets discouraging when we do see the damage, such as the ATV damage that occurred yesterday,” Lombardo said.
Many long-concerned about ATV operators driving recklessly throughout the city.
Rodriguez added, “Oh, I think it bothers anybody. Anybody who loves their community.”
Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said, “We’ve been experiencing a lot of issues here in Waterbury with illegal ATVs and dirt bikes on the street.”
Along with concerns juveniles are the ones going out for wild rides.
“There’s been a lot of reckless behavior that they engage in. There have been some accidents,” the chief explained. “This is an issue where we need to hold our minors or whoever’s involved, accountable.”
The chief says his department has been trying to crack down on illegal ATVs and with this case, they are getting leads from the public.
The vehicles that caused the damage at the park were last seen heading south toward Bank Street and were gone by the time police arrived on the scene Wednesday.
If the police catch these riders, they could face criminal mischief and trespass charges. And under a city ordinance, police can seize their vehicles and destroy them.
This incident is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Waterbury police at (203) 755-1234. Or call Waterbury’s ATV tip line at 203-573-6662.
ATVs and dirt bikes have been a nuisance on Connecticut city streets for a long time. The issue got so bad in New Haven, police cracked down with fines not only for those illegal vehicles but also the gas stations that let them fill up.