Help build vandalism reward fund

Written by Observer editorial reports January 19, 2011 02:31 pm
An effort to establish a reward fund and help cover some of the cost of damages associated with the vandalism at Hillcrest Cemetery and the National Guard Armory back in December is in need of community support.
A fund has been established at Sterling Bank’s Island City branch to collect donations for the fund. The more money raised, the greater the reward and the more help that can be extended to help cover some of the
damages.

“We need a reward so that maybe we can catch who did this,’’ said John Sprenger, who together with others put up the first $1,000 in the fund, $500 of which went to cover the deductible for one Guardsman whose car was damaged when some idiot used a vehicle as a battering ram in the armory parking lot. Additional money is needed to replace another Guardsman’s 2002 Acura that was destroyed and was no longer insured.

Sprenger has visited with Lindon Higbee at Frontier Motors about finding a suitable replacement vehicle at auction for Sgt. Travis Sheehan. Sprenger said he hopes other area car dealers will get involved, too — not to mention the community at large.

“We have to do something,’’ Sprenger said. “These soldiers have our backs. We need to help them when we can.’’

All money donated to the fund is being recorded, Sprenger said, so that it could be returned should the reward fail to result in an arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the vandalism.

The cemetery was vandalized the morning hours of Dec. 8. The vandals did between $10,000 and $15,000 in damage to 107 headstones. The next night, or early the morning of Dec. 10, someone used a vehicle parked at the armory for a battering ram and smashed several cars that had been parked there. Three vehicles sustained substantial damage. The fund covered the deductible for one vehicle, and a second soldier may also receive help with his insurance costs. But Staff Sgt. Sheehan had canceled the insurance on his Acura, which was supposed to be picked up by his ailing mother and reinsured in her name. The vandalism prevented that from happening.

Nobody knows for sure if the two acts of vandalism were related, but their proximity makes it seem possible.

Let’s pull together as a community and help Sgt. Sheehan and also build a reward fund. Let’s do some good and at the same time help bring these criminals to justice. Send or take your donations to the Soldier/Cemetery and Reward Fund at Sterling Bank, 3106 Island Ave.