Within a matter of weeks, the Longbranch Improvement Club building has been the target of three acts of vandalism. The latest attack was the night of July 25.
The first was at the end of June, said Lynn Carr, grounds and maintenance keeper. The next one came the night of July 21, and he found a mess when he arrived to ready the building for the board meeting on July 22. He said they pulled things out of the refrigerator and dumped a mess onto the floor, and they also got into the storage room and drank the liquor that was in the cabinet.
To get that mess cleaned quickly Carr said he spent about $650-700 for a cleaning service.
During the latest break-in, rocks from the garden were used to break the windows, and to repair that damage is expensive, Carr said. Because the building is on the historic registry, he said they must use special materials for repairs.
Once inside, they tried to gain access to the storage room again, Carr said. During the July 21 break-in the door to the storage room was kicked in and the lock burst. The vandals were able to get into the liquor cabinet, and Carr said he found the empty liquor bottles where they had been drinking in that room.
“I spent $446 to get that door reinforced,” he said.
It worked. Though it was evident they had tried to break the door down again, it held. A large, detailed shoeprint stained the outside of the door.
“Last time they got in here and drank up the liquor, and they took the fire extinguishers,” Carr said. “Then went up to the Longbranch Community Church and discharged them.”
Calls to the church were not returned.
Though they weren’t able to access the storage room, the contents of the refrigerator were emptied onto the floor and condiments were squirted on the walls, ceiling, and whatever was in the way of the spray. There were also bottles of dishwashing liquid emptied and crumpled on the floor.
“We just had a successful croquet tournament, and we just turned it over to the church for the salmon bake, and now we’re getting ready for Beyond the Borders,” said Carolyn Wiley. “They’re really creeps.”
Mark Runions, a member of the LIC, said there is obviously a need for a security system. He said they hope to have it in place very soon.
Runion and Carr said there have also been cases of theft and vandalism at the LIC Marina.
Jeff Baily, president of the LIC, has asked volunteers to help clean up the mess.