Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Attack On Draper Historic Theater The Latest In An Epidemic Of Vandalism Along The Wasatch Front In Utah

If you think there's an epidemic of vandalism on the Wasatch Front in Utah, you may be right. Three high-profile attacks of vandalism have broken the media's radar screen during the past three days.

The latest reported incident: An attack upon the Draper Historic Theater. On Tuesday August 24th, 2010, sometime between midnight and 4 A.M., a single person attacked the theater, breaking the glass on all the windows and doors, and causing an estimated $10,000 damage. The insurance on the facility does not cover vandalism. The surveillance video coupled with the KSL news video embedded below shows a single person attacking the doorway, but does not show facial details:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com



On Wednesday August 25th, three teenagers were arrested and accused of setting a public restroom at the Jordan Ridge Park in South Jordan on fire. An alert West Jordan police officer, suspicious about the presence of obvious teenagers on the street after midnight, stopped the three teens (that's called "profiling", and it has a happy ending). Two of them immediately ran away, but the third one confessed, leading to the other two being tracked down and arrested. The damage estimate is $2,000; the three perps are being held in juvenile detention. Whether or not the teens' parents knew about their kids being out after hours has not yet been reported.

And much of Utah Valley is still in an uproar over an incident in which five Westlake High School football players were arrested approximately 1 A.M. on Sunday August 22nd after police caught them vandalizing the football field at Lehi High School. There's apparently a strong rivalry between the two schools. The five were arrested on felony graffiti charges because of the extensive damage the vandalism, consisting of vulgar phrases and pictures, caused to walls, a sidewalk, portable bathrooms and on the football field. Despite on-the-spot repairs, there is the possibility that the spray paint on the synthetic turf might start showing through the repainted surface. This would require professional intervention to replace the affected section of the field, costing thousands of additional dollars. KSTU Channel 13 also published a story.

The two perps who are 18 or older were identified; Garett Grovsner Bolles was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, as well as a first-degree felony charge of graffiti, which was elevated by a gang enhancement and by the value of the damage, while Kisi Keomaka Unufe was arrested on the same charges plus failure to stop at a peace officer's order. KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of KSL.com



Particularly disgusting is the limp-wristed response by Westlake Football Coach Jason Walker, who said "They're good kids. All the kids involved are really good kids. I know them really well -- just poor judgment on their part." Coach Walker dished out a wrist slap -- a mere three-game suspension, which is of course in addition to the legal consequences they will face. Most of the people posting comments to the KSL story think Coach Walker is a wimp and should suspend the players for the whole season.

And this would be the best bet. A three-game suspension is a wrist slap. Taking away their football season would send an object lesson to other over-privileged jocks that they will be held to the same standards as ordinary people. "Good" kids don't tear up football fields or set porta-potties on fire.

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