CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Thieves and vandals are putting a damper on summer fun. They're breaking into, vandalizing and in some cases, stealing from swim facilities where families try to beat the heat. August 14 and 15 suspects left more than $1500 worth of damage at facilities in northern Chesterfield.
Staff at five Chesterfield pools arrived to find doors pried open, windows smashed and in two cases, money stolen. Police believe the thieves were looking for cash and pool employees say the break-ins hinder their ability to give kids a safe and fun place to spend the summer.
Neighborhood pools are a summer staple. Families endure the season's blazing heat with a splash in the pool and a cold treat.
When Kim Stoots opened the Gator Snack Shack at the Evergreen Association pool, the glass from a shattered window where customers place their orders shocked her. Thieves stole some soda and almost $150 worth of cash used to pay the teens who work there.
"It's our pool! And we want it to be fun for our kids. And if they keep vandalizing it, it's just more money out of the pool's pocket," said Stoots.
That money could go to renovations and bills.
Three other pools will have to be more careful when it comes to security. Suspects vandalized the Surreywood Swim and Tennis Club and the Walton Park Community Pool but nothing was stolen. Thieves did, however, manage to get away with some money from the Queensmill Swim Club.
Over the years, Shady Acres Pool has had to step up security measures because of similar incidents. So, while vandals hopped the fence there, they weren't able to get inside to steal anything.
"We've done the best to learn our lessons and to prevent it in the future," said President Joe Finnegan.
Things like barbed wire, a double sided dead bolt and plywood behind the concession window deter crime.
"We've just learned good business practices," said Finnegan.
Shady Acres staff says they also make it widely known they don't keep any cash on the property overnight. So, if you're looking for money, it would be pretty fruitless to break in. If you have information on any of these incidents call Crime Solvers at 748-0660.