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Cumberland police identify juveniles suspected of severely damaging property at Lions Park

Town manager says property lit on fire, stolen, smashed; damages roughly estimated at $20,000
Cumberland vandalism
Cumberland vandalism
Cumberland vandalism
Cumberland vandalism
Posted at 4:28 PM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 19:52:17-04

CUMBERLAND — Police say they have identified and plan to present charges against four juveniles suspected of setting fire to, stealing, smashing in and spray-painting property at Lions Park over the weekend.

Cumberland police said in a news release Thursday that it had received "numerous" tips from the community, which helped them identify the suspects.

"The CMPD Criminal Investigations Division began eliciting tips from our community and shared images on social media platforms in order to identify these four subjects. Over the next 36 hours, many members of the Cumberland and Hancock County communities submitted possible names and other identifying information of the potential suspects," the Cumberland Metropolitan Police Department said in a release. "These identifications were made possible by the tips of our community."

So far, three of the four have been interviewed by police. Those juveniles and their parents are cooperating with detectives. The fourth has been identified, but their parents declined an interview on their child's behalf, police said.

The suspected vandalism happened overnight Saturday into Sunday after park hours, according to the Cumberland Metropolitan Police Department.

"The damage was extensive and will have an impact on a community resource that (is) widely used," the department said in a Facebook post on Monday.

Ben Lipps, Cumberland town manager said the park will remain open despite the widespread damages.

Cumberland said the town has record of the following damages:

  • The Buck Creek Trail mural was sprayed with graffiti
  • A tennis net was set on fire, which resulted in damage to a tennis court
  • A playground slide was set on fire
  • An electrical panel for a shelter was smashed to the point it shorted out, leaving live wires exposed
  • A drinking fountain was partially removed and then broken off
  • Shelters and picnic tables were covered in graffiti
  • Several signs were covered in graffiti and some were stolen
  • A bulletin board was smashed in
  • Decorative signage was spray-painted
  • Some grills were knocked out of the ground
  • A significant amount of playground equipment was spray-painted

Lipps said the town was still working to find out how much the damages will cost to repair. It was roughly estimated to be around $20,000 based on conversations with electricians, plumbers, artists and playground vendors.

"The council and myself — we're obviously angry. All this stuff represents an investment in the community," Lipps said. "It's just really disappointing. It's something we want to prevent in the future."

Lipps added that some of the property damaged was community-donated. The mural was funded in part by community contributions.

Police said the investigation is ongoing, but detectives plan to present charges to the Hancock County Prosecutor's Office and the Hancock County Probation Department, which handles juvenile matters, for review.

Police urged anyone with information to call the department directly or reach Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana. Cumberland police can be reached at 317-894-3525 and Crime Stoppers can be reached at 317-262-TIPS.