Officials with the city of Dawsonville are looking for information related to a recent rash of vandalism at a city-owned park located next to Dawsonville Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
Public Works Operations Manager Trampas Hansard reported two separate incidents of vandalism to the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office this week. He says the vandalism occurred sometime between Jan. 26 and Jan. 28 and again between noon Jan. 30 and 7 a.m. Jan. 31.
Hansard filed the first report on Monday, telling deputies that the city park had been vandalized over the weekend resulting in an estimated $3,500 worth of damage.
According to the report, Hansard showed deputies that one of the slides on the playground had been cracked and damaged, that the back retaining wall had been tagged with a large spray painting and that another slide had been tagged.
The door to a shed on the property had also been damaged and painted and a metal sign belonging to the city was bent and tagged, the report states.
The report also indicates that the incident was gang related.
Three days later on Jan. 31 Hansard filed another report after additional graffiti, mostly written words, appeared overnight on tables and playground equipment, written in marker and paint pen.
The report states that Hansard had no information about any potential suspects, but a nearby resident told the deputy that he had seen three white females in their late teens writing on a sign at the park around 3 p.m. Jan. 30.
“(The resident) said they were on the park tables but he could not see them actually writing on the tables,” the deputy wrote in the report. “He said three males met up with the females. He said the females left on foot towards the center of town.”
Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson did not offer details about potential suspects but said Friday that the office is encouraged to have a “promising lead” that investigators are following.
There are not currently any video cameras in place at the park, but Hansard said Friday he is looking to get cameras installed to either catch or ward off future perpetrators.
He is also trying to figure out how to remove the graffiti, some of which contains obscenities, from the bricks of the retaining wall and the plastic of the playground equipment and tables.
“We’re going to try pressure washing but someone said that acid will be the only way to get it off,” Hansard said.
He has a rough estimate of $2,000 to replace the slide, which he said he hopes has not been discontinued, but the damage as a whole could cost much more to repair.
He also said vandalism has been a problem at the cemetery and park before, and that the tables under the pavilion had already been replaced once due to vandalism.
The posted park hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Hansard has asked that citizens report sightings of anyone seen at the park after hours to police.
“We want to reiterate to our community to please contact us with any concerns involving suspicious activity or people; especially during times when areas are closed,” Johnson said. “If anyone has any information or suspicions regarding this crime, you are urged to contact the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Component.”
Anonymous messages can be left on the sheriff’s office tip line at (706) 265-4744.