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Vandal's fire causes $2,500 in damage to Chillicothe park facility

Chillicothe parks and recreation officials are fighting back against park vandals.

There's a lot of beauty at Yoctangee park. Something Chillicothe resident Wayne Cooper appreciates.

"it just reminds me of home a lot,"he said.

But on Monday, January 9, a teen put a blemish on the park's beauty when he allegedly set a fire inside a bathroom.

"The paper towel dispenser like we have in the women's was set on fire and it was really amazing the heat and smoke the fire from this one small paper towel dispenser would cause,” said Bill Bonner, Chillicothe Parks and Recreation Director.

Bonner says $2,500 in damage was caused in the arson.

"We were very disappointed that someone would do this. We spend a lot of time and effort and money in 2015 rehabilitating these bathrooms getting to where they were open on a daily basis."

Bonner wasn't the only one disappointed.

"Well it's winter time. Kids ain't got nothing to do and curious minds I guess,” said Cooper.

What the accused vandal didn't know was he was caught on camera. Signs are up outside the bathroom as a reminder.

In 2016, Bonner says cameras were put up at the parks two bathrooms and three other neighborhood parks for a cost of $20,000.

This year, $30,000 will be spent on more cameras. Bonner says the money comes from a budget for the parks and rec department.

The arson is the first major type of vandalism Bonner can remember.

His message to anyone coming to the park

"There's a lot to do. Enjoy yourselves. Be constructive. If you start being negative, doing some harmful things we're going to catch you."

Bonner says they plan on additional cameras to annexed areas of their parks.

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