Local News

Friday, May 23 2014 04:00 PM

Veteran's memorial vandalized at Central Park

The Veteran's Memorial at Philip Marx Central Park fell victim to possible vandalism on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

One of the two ground LED fixtures around the memorial was damaged and the light bulb removed, according to Matt Young, district manager, for the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District.

Young said the district discovered the damage at about 7:40 a.m. on May 22. The LED light was missing, along with elements that kept it secure. He added that a search of Central Park yielded only a piece of the plastic ring and broken piece of glass from the cover.

The two lights illuminate the Veteran's Memorial, which pays tribute to local veterans who served and died in past wars. The memorial was designed and contracted by local veterans and community members, including Pat Gracey and her husband Doyle, in 1980.

Gracey helped rededicated and renovate it the memorial holding the names of the veterans last summer after it was severely damaged in 2000.

Young said that the light costs approximately $800, including the light itself, which may average a few hundred dollars.

"I don't know if the person that took it liked the look of it or thought they could use it (in a normal fixture)," Young said. However, the light bulb is designed for a fixture similar to the one that was damaged, not for normal 120-volt electric systems.

According to Young, the empty fixture was filled with water as well when the sprinkler system was activated. The district will have to wait for it to dry before determining whether it can be repaired.

In the mean time, the district has covered the hole for safety reasons.

Gracey, on May 22, was surprised to hear the about the damage to the light fixture.

"Not again," she said. "That's rough."

While relieved that the memorial itself was undamaged, she said it was still dreadful news.

TVRPD is asking the public to contact either the district or the the Tehachapi Police Department with any information.

In the mean time, Young, the district manager, said that if the light does not turn up, the district will have to order new parts to repair it.

However, the damage will not deter the Memorial Day Ceremony at 11 a.m. on May 26 at Central park from happening.

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