WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County authorities and residents are warning people to beware after a pair of vandalism cases have occurred in the same area of the city.
On Tuesday, KSN shared a story about a damaged memorial plaque located at the South Arkansas River Canoe Launch. On Wednesday, a viewer reached out to KSN saying he and his friend had fallen victim to vandalism at the same location.
“Honestly, I will probably never park down here again,” said Jeremy Smith.
Jeremy Smith and his friend Wes Albrecht said they were kayaking on the Arkansas River during the afternoon of May 6. Albrecht said he parked his truck in the canoe-launch lot near 71st and Grove Street. The pair returned to the lot after several hours on the water. However, they did not find Albrecht’s truck in the same state as they had left it.
“Found my truck vandalized, totally obliterated. All the windows were bashed out,” said Wes Albrecht. “They opened the hood, bashed all the fuse box, took a hatchet out of my truck and hit my truck with that.”
“Pretty much everything that could have been broken on the truck was damaged, every piece of glass, plastic, they even bashed stuff underneath the hood. It was remarkable how much damage they actually did to the vehicle,” Smith said.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said about $14,000 worth of damage was done to Albrecht’s truck.
“It really has taken my faith away in just being able to park your truck somewhere while you float down a river,” Smith said.
This isn’t the first vandalism case to occur at the canoe launch. On May 4, Misty Yardley made a report with Wichita police after she found her late brother’s memorial plaque had been damaged.
Albrecht and Smith said Yardley’s story prompted them to contact KSN.
“Just kind of felt like it was a pattern, that there might be a group of people where they come to destroy things and hopefully keep that from happening to anybody else,” Smith said.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said it’s unclear if the two vandalism cases are related. Officials said it’s also too early to say if the crimes were targeted or random.