WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) – A passerby called police after noticing the lacrosse fields at the Bradford Preserve on Bradford Road were vandalized Friday morning.
The vandals sliced several nets from the goals and dug several deep holes in the fields. The league began repairing nets and filling holes after inspecting the damage, in preparation for games Friday afternoon.
“It’s devastating. It’s in the middle of the kids’ season, every single goal is slashed, the field has been dug up very deliberately,” said Patti Palmer, whose two sons play in a youth league in the town. “Some jerk with a shovel isn’t going to shut down our teams.”
Police are questioning people who live nearby who may have spotted the vandals committing the crime or heard someone on the fields. Coach Adam Kauffman said the Westerly Area Youth Lacrosse League has used the large field for the last four years, and believes tensions with neighbors about having games there led to the damage.
“In my 25 years, I can’t recall an act of vandalism this vicious or with a clearer message,” he said.
Each net will cost about $100 to fix, but just hours after the vandalism, residents began donating new nets. Those new nets were installed Friday, while Kauffman and other coaches worked to fill in the holes so the fields are safe.
“This gives Westerly a black eye, which is a shame,” said Kauffman,”Westerly is a fantastic community – but we’ll be here – they’re not going to deter us from being out here.”
Anyone with information on the vandalism should contact Westerly police.