Update at bottom of story
A senseless and outrageous act of vandalism has cost a Revelstoke community service organization thousands of dollars and has given the community’s reputation a black eye on the eve of a showcase event.
Vandals slashed six tents in Centennial Park with some kind of blade, causing an estimated $16,000 in damage. The tents are owned by Revelstoke Rotary, who rent them out during community events and use the proceeds to support community causes. Rotary volunteers set them up on Thursday night in preparation for the Revelstoke Glacier Challenge slo-pitch tournament. They were slashed overnight.
The attack was extensive and malicious. The brand new tent on the band stage was slashed with over a dozen cuts designed to totally destroy it. Another tent was also shredded with slashes. The vandals cut other tents in key structural points to inflict maximum damage.
Revelstoke RCMP detachment commanding officer Staff Sgt. Jacquie Olsen showed the Times Review the damage on Friday morning. Olsen, who is also a Rotarian, was outraged and visibly upset by the “meaningless” destruction. “This serves no purpose,” Olsen said, “other than to be malicious.”
She was particularly upset about the damage to the tent on the main band stage. The tent was brand new and had just been set up for the first time. Now, it looks like it will be a total loss for the organization.
Olsen’s message for the perpetrators, possible bystanders and their family members was clear. Come forward and talk to the Revelstoke RCMP, Crimestoppers or any Revelstoke Rotarian before it gets worse. Just a few hours after it was discovered, RCMP “have people of interest,” Olsen said.
Unfortunately, she said police suspect young people are involved. RCMP had catalogued the suspects’ footprints on the scene. The Times Review witnessed an officer who was conducting forensic work to gather photos, fingerprints and other evidence. Olsen said anyone with information, including someone who was a bystander during the destruction, needs to come clean now. “They need to come talk to us,” Olsen said.
Vandalism incidents have “definitely” been on the increase recently, she said, although a crackdown on liquor infractions at bars over the past year had led to a decrease in damage caused after the bars let out.
Rotary volunteers finished setting up the tent at about 7 p.m on Thursday, July 28 and the damage was discovered by an RCMP patrol at about 8:30 a.m. on Friday, July 29. In return for their volunteer efforts, Rotary usually uses the proceeds to support community initiatives like the floating dock at Williamson’s Lake, donations to B.C. Children’s Hospital, student exchanges, youth organizations and more. Instead, it looks like Rotary and the organizations they support will be taking a loss for their efforts.
Revelstoke RCMP can be contacted at 250-837-5255, and tips can be made anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Update, July 29, 5:20 p.m.: Revelstoke RCMP now report they have three people in custody related to the event, all of whom are youths as described by the Youth Justice Act. All three are from Revelstoke. No charges have been laid and the investigation is ongoing.