De Pere police looking for Jim Martin Park vandals

DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) -- The De Pere Police Department investigates a string of vandalism at Jim Martin Park.

The park is located on Libal Street, and the on-site bathroom building sustained the criminal damage.

"It's a huge inconvenience. We have soccer that's out there. We have regular soccer games. The De Pere Rapids is out there," said Marty Kosobucki, Director of the Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department in the City of De Pere. "The school uses it. Many, many families take their children to that playground."

The first reports of vandalism came in last week with people targeting the exterior of the facility by bashing in gutters and smashing soffits.

"Then it kind of took a turn for, I don't want to say the worst, but a little more severity," said Kosobucki. "Two evenings ago, someone had started a fire within in the men's bathroom."

Crews put out those flames quickly, but they were not so lucky on Thursday afternoon when someone set another fire in the same bathroom.

"We have staff working on it, trying to get the smoke out of it. It's kind of a big problem right now, so it's not a very safe environment for people to use," said Kosobucki. "We have to unfortunately shut the bathroom down for a little while."

He calls it a "senseless act," causing damage that will be fixed at the taxpayers' expense.

"We just want a nice, aesthetic, pleasing, functional, safe park for people, and when these kinds of things happen, it doesn't sit well with a lot of people."

Kosobucki is asking the public for help in finding the person or people responsible for these crimes. "If someone is out there who did it and sees this, come forward. If someone knows anything about it, let us know. Please."

Information can be reported to the De Pere Police Department or the De Pere Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department.