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Community to pay for vandals' damage at Oakleaf ball fields

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Updated: 8/14/2013 7:54 pm
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- The Oakleaf practice fields are still a big mess, and with school back in session, local football teams are forced to find somewhere else to play.

It's completely ruined. Even after Oakleaf's practice field was graded, Action News has learned it's still too muddy to play on. With $2,500 in damage, it's also too costly to fix.

"Ten minutes of fun creates a lot of work, and effort and money to an organization that prides itself on looking the best," said Jeff Tucker, president of the Oakleaf Sports Association.

Tucker says Oakleaf Sports Association is a non-profit that has already invested thousands of dollars into this park. After a vandal trashed the field with deep tread marks, the responsibility now lays on the organization.

"When something like this happens, it really puts us at a disadvantage," said Tucker.

We're told this isn't the first time. He says the field was also used as a race track for reckless driving last year.

"It was actually some kids from Mandarin that did it the last time, and they just happened to be driving by and thought 'oh there's a big open field, let's have some fun,'" said Tucker.

A couple of months ago, a $14,000 mower was stolen from the organization's shed. That thief is still at large. The Clay County Sheriff's Office tells Action News it is following up on leads in this case.

We're told the teams are practicing at the local elementary school fields. Tucker tells Action News the association is working on getting lights and cameras installed at the field, to avoid future incidents. He also says donations to help fund the project would be greatly appreciated.

If you have any information on the case, call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
Callers can remain anonymous and could get a cash reward.
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