Broken glass in sandboxes, axed trees, burnt plants found in Phoenix parks

Homeowners outraged by acts of vandalism at their parks and subdivision in south Phoenix.

PHOENIX - Shattered glass left in the sand, trees axed down and plants set on fire. Homeowners in a southwest Phoenix neighborhood say their community is under attack, and they say it is getting worse over the last few months.

“We are going to band together as a community and find out who did this and make sure they pay for it," said Charisse Walls, the area's homeowners' association president.

Outrage is the best way to describe what this community near 103rd Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road is feeling.

“It’s just beyond our comprehension," said Mary Ehlers, who is the co-leader for the Country Place Community Block Watch.

At first glance, the parks in the neighborhood looks like any other park.

But we took a closer.

At one park alone, four trees were chopped down by a vandal overnight.

Part of the drip system had been pulled from the ground as well.

One tree with major damage from what looks like an ax was spared, for now.

“It’s going to die," said Ehlers after talking with the landscaping company. "It’s been chopped so deep into the core of the tree. They can’t do anything to really save it.”

Officials from the Phoenix Police Department confirmed the reports of vandalism. They plan to add patrols in the area when call volume allows it.

But it gets worse.

Someone also sprayed graffiti on walls, burned tables and ramadas, set plants on fire, knocked down a portion of a brick wall and shattered glass from beer bottles in the sand of a playground.

The block watch, HOA and the landscaping company worked together to clear the sand of glass, but "there’s still pieces of glass out there," said Walls. 

We found a piece while covering this story as well.

If the vandalism keeps up, HOA fees could go up too.

“They are damaging things that cost thousands of dollars to repair," said Walls, adding the HOA can only absorb so much maintenance and repair costs at once.

But it’s more than just about money for this neighborhood.

“[Why would somebody] do something that would injure a child? That infuriates me," said Ehlers.

Walls has a message for the people responsible:

“You will not break us!" she said. "You will not do this with us, because we will fight back on you. We will not allow this to happen.”

Police have no suspects in this case, and so far, there have been no witnesses.

If you have any information about the case, you can call Phoenix PD at 602-262-7626.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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