KEARNEY — After about a week of searching and reward offerings up to $2,500 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction, Kearney police have identified suspect(s) believed to be involved in the defacing of the newly renovated Lions Park in downtown Kearney.
“The Kearney, Missouri Police Department has truly appreciated all of the tips and information received from the public regarding the vandalism to our community waterpark/Lions Park,” states a department release. “… This case is still an active investigation so we cannot release the names of these suspects at this point, but we will release more information once charges are filed.”
Sgt. Ron McEntire, the detective on the investigation, told the Courier-Tribune Thursday, July 15, he hopes more information, including names of suspect(s), can be released as early as tomorrow, Friday, July 16.
The park damage occurred just two weeks after the park, which now features a splash pad, new bathrooms, shelters and bandstand, had a grand opening.
According to police, a suspect was seen on security camera footage around midnight July 3, and is believed to have defaced park property by spray painting the new splash pad, signs, bathrooms and other park features.
After the damage, members of the city’s parks department and Mayor Randy Pogue were seen in the park cleaning up the mess.
“Disappointing is an understatement,” Pogue told reporters at the time.
Thanks to help from community volunteers and parks employees, the park was cleaned by 11 a.m. the same day and back open to the public.