Steel commodes stolen from Warren park

WARREN – Scrap thieves made off with stainless steel bathroom accessories yanked out of Southwest Park sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Bob Plant of the city’s Operations Department said the one urinal, three commodes and two sinks probably will cost more than $6,000 to replace.

Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa during Wednesday’s City Council meeting said the city will replace the stolen items using money from the Community Development Department.

Cantalamessa called for citizens help in identifying the “cowards” who in the dark of the night stole the items from the park, as well as the person that defaced the artwork on David Grohl Alley last weekend.

The artwork in David Grohl alley helped to bring recognition and pride to the city locally and internationally, he said.

“I am asking people who may be able to identify the person involved to contact the police department’s anonymous tip line or to call city hall,” Cantalamessa said. “I will not rest, and I know that retired police Sgt. Joseph O’Grady will not rest, until this person has been arrested.”

The person believed to have been involved in the alley vandalism is suspected to have been involved in other instances of graffiti being painted on buildings around the city.

Councilwoman Helen Rucker, D-at large, said the damage to the park bathrooms would prevent residents and local teams from using the park because there are not restroom facilities.

“I am glad the city will be able to replace these fixtures, but that is money that could have been used elsewhere,” Rucker said.

Rhonda Bennett, president of Southwest Neighborhood Association, was angry when she saw the damage that was done to the restroom facilities. The association is in the third year of a 20-year shepherding agreement with the city that allow them to help maintain the park.

“We want the park reopened,” Bennett said. “We redid the park, got new equipment for it, painted the pavilion, and cut the grass. We put skylights in the restrooms.

“I would like people to keep their ears to the ground and help us protect the park,” she said.

Bennett described the restrooms being padlocked, but the the thieve used torches cut them open.

“We are asking citizens if they see vehicles that do not belong in the area to report them,” Cantalamessa said. “I listen to the scanners all of the time and our officers respond to complaints. It is important for people to call about suspicious vehicles.”

The brush stainless steel commodes, sinks, and other equipment were placed in the restroom several years ago because the city encountered vandals who repeated broke the porcelain fixtures that had been in them.