• Vandals damage St. Johns Veterans Park for fourth time this month


    ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Vandals caused thousands of dollars in damage to a park in St. Johns County overnight Sunday, the fourth time it’s been hit this month.

    Deputies said vandals broke into a shed, set fire to a soccer net using spray paint cans and scorched the soccer turf at Veterans Park.

    The turf was still smoldering Monday morning, and deputies estimate the vandals caused $10,000 worth of damage.

    "They broke in," said Jerry DellaPorta, director of fields and operations at the park. "They removed the gas tank from the last golf cart and started a fire on the artificial turf field."

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    More than 20 spray cans were found at the park, which deputies said the vandals used to ignite fires.

    A crew from the state fire marshal's office was on scene Monday morning surveying the damage and gathering evidence, which was spewed throughout the park.

    The vandals, who DellaPort believes are in their teens or early 20s, cut a lock on a fence to gain access to an area with golf carts and a tractor.

    Deputies said the vandals will face additional charges for breaking into the shed.

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    Last time the park was vandalized, someone did doughnuts on the soccer turf, cut nets and poured syrup inside a county tractor. 

    They also broke in and took out golf carts, then came back and drove them into a pond. 

    The latest stunt not only disrupts soccer practices, it will cost a lot to fix. The director of the complex believes $35,000-$40,000 worth of total damage was done in the last two weeks.

    That's why DellaPorta said they'll be relentless in trying to catch the vandals.

    The Florida Elite Soccer Academy is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the vandalism.

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