Kaatza Museum displays were hit yet again by vandals in the early part of last week.
The Plymouth locomotive car was vandalized sometime over the weekend, or Monday morning. The vandals tried to break into the engine at the front of the car as well as the door located on the back end. They also broke a plexiglass window.
“It’s welded, I mean you can’t get it open,” said Don Gordon, a museum volunteer. “They got a board out of the compound there, you can see bits of it here,” he said, pointing to splinters of what was once a marker stick from the old Hillcrest Mill scattered on the ground around the car.
Then, sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, someone stole an ore cart from the back of the property by the Bell Tower School.
“Somebody came in, obviously a couple of guys with a pick-up, truck and took it,” said Gordon. “We’re telling everybody we can, if anyone’s displaying an iron [ore] car to give us a call, or the police.”
“It’s a whole bowl full of nuts that people are damaging [museum display items],” said Paul Anderson, also a volunteer. “They do not show any respect to their neighbour or property these young people, no respect. If they had respect they wouldn’t be breaking stuff.”
The car was in the middle of receiving a new coat of paint when the vandalism occurred. Sections had to be redone because of the damage, and the window will still have to be replaced.
“We’ve had problems since day one, off and on. It’s been a long time since we’ve had any vandalism until this last little bit,” said museum curator Barbara Simkins.
According to Gazette archives, the need for surveillance cameras in Saywell Park has been an issue since 2008. There is a camera at the Visitor Centre, but it is a live feed and does not record.
“If we’d had it there, maybe we would have got a license plate or something,” said Gordon.
“I just talked to Joe [Fernandez] earlier and he was just waiting for the camera person or the professional . . . to come and give us the opinion of exactly where to put it. I really want two, and we’re going to get one to start with,” said Simkins.
She hopes the camera is positioned in such a way that it can catch most of the traffic coming in and out of museum property. The new camera will record 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I estimate [installing the camera] later this week or next week,” said Joseph Fernandez, the towns chief administrative officer. “It’s a matter of getting the tech guy on staff to fix it. If I could do it tomorrow it would be done tomorrow.”
Police have no suspects as of yet, but are asking that anyone with information call them at 250-749-6668.