Police Cracking Down on Thefts at Park Public Restrooms
With summer in full swing, many are heading to area parks for some play. But police in East Aurora say thieves are targeting select parks throughout Erie County.
As YNN's Kate McGowan explains, investigators are working to prevent vandalism which is making the parks public restrooms unusable.
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EAST AURORA, N.Y. -- Some say it's a desperate act to earn some cash.
"I think it's very sad," said an East Aurora resident.
Another resident said, "I think it's terrible."
East Aurora Police said thieves are targeting public restrooms at area parks.
At Hamlin Park in East Aurora, a sign was posted saying the facilities were closed, due to vandalism.
"It just ruins it for everyone I think. I mean, you have families coming here all the time. And when you have kids doing this, I mean it just gives everyone a bad name," said park goer, Kyle Foss.
Investigators said a large quantity of 'flush valves' have been stolen from both Hamlin Park and Emery Park in East Aurora and the Town of Aurora. Even Chesnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park has fallen victim to the same damage.
Police said the reason behind the theft is quite simple. The flush valves, located inside the tank of a toilet or urinal are made of brass. Investigators said scrap metal is up in value and thieves are able to sell the parts.
"I mean scrap metal is up but that's a little ridiculous. Get a job, there's other ways to make money," Foss said.
"They should get those little people and prosecute," an East Aurora resident said.
Lori Ramsey from West Seneca brings her young children to Hamlin Park quite often.
"I like the playground, I like the shade," she said.
She said the crime is unfortunate, and makes it that much more challenging to bring her children back to play.
"Especially with having kids, I mean we need to use the restroom so that is a big thing."
Police said the replacement cost is high, as maintenance crews must replace the entire toilet or urinal, as well as the expense of plumbing.
Anyone with information on the thefts is asked to contact the East Aurora Police Department at 716-652-1111
"Police do a good job here, they can't watch everything. But they do try," a resident said.