5/27/15: Vandalism at Black Rock Canal Park Outrages Community, Officials

Modified: May 27, 2015 1:46pm

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ERIE COUNTY, NY— A spate of vandalism in recent days at Black Rock Canal Park has both sparked community outrage and drawn renewed commitments from law enforcement and community groups to increase vigilance at the Park following another incident of vandalism on Monday night. Construction equipment and supplies stored on-site by Pyramid Masonry were stolen and destroyed in the fourth such incident to happen at the Park, resulting in thousands of dollars in lost inventory. Other contractors at the site have also experienced vandalism and theft of equipment and materials left inside the fenced-off construction site overnight, with losses totaling nearly $30,000 and igniting community anger.

“It is outrageous and unacceptable that individuals are attempting to destroy the hard work that’s been done to transform Black Rock Canal Park into the family-friendly area that it is, hard work that stretches back many years and involves many people,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Vandalism is a crime against the entire community, and we are boosting efforts to prevent it and prosecute it.”

Parks Commissioner Troy P. Schinzel added, “These disgusting acts will not be tolerated and have energized the community to come forward and protect Black Rock Canal Park. It is a shame that people seem to enjoy destroying the good work of others but we are united in our desire to stop this and apprehend the individuals responsible. Our parks are meant to be enjoyed by the community and we are working with community partners and law enforcement to halt this destruction.”

Last week, a special order was issued by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office requiring added patrols in Black Rock Canal Park; the Buffalo Police department is also ramping up patrols there.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office encourages park visitors to report any suspicious activity to 858-2903.

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard said, “The Sheriff’s Office has conducted thousands of premises checks at County Parks through the past year and with increased activity in our parks, visitors will see an increased presence of Sheriff’s Deputies.  My office remains committed to keeping our parks a safe place for families and other park visitors and allow them to experience the diverse beauty our County Parks offer.  I also want to warn people who go to our parks to cause damage that your actions will not be tolerated.”

In early May, over $5,000 in tools and supplies were stolen from Scott Lawn Yard’s locked equipment trailer, which was broken into at the site. Two weeks after that incident, vandals returned to damage construction equipment and break into two more locked trailers on-site, stealing electrical construction equipment from another contractor. Monday night’s incident, the fourth on the site, involved the theft of ladders, outriggers, scaffolding and metal supports along with the destruction of construction supplies.