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2 juveniles arrested for Lytle Park vandalism

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MATTOON — The Mattoon Police Department has arrested two juveniles and is seeking a third in connection with vandalism over the weekend at Lytle Park.

Officers were dispatched at about 8:40 a.m. Monday to the park for a criminal damage report and found a bathroom had been vandalized, the department said in a statement.

"During the course of the investigation Mattoon police officers were able to identify three juvenile suspects," the release said Tuesday afternoon. "At the time of this release, two out of the three suspects have been located, processed for the offense of criminal damage to property, and released to a guardian. All three juvenile suspects will be petitioned and prosecuted in juvenile court."

Lytle Park

The Mattoon Police Department has charged two juveniles and is seeking a third in connection with vandalism over the weekend in the men's bathroom at the Lytle Park east pavilion.

Deputy Chief Ryan Hurst said on Tuesday that the arrests were for the vandalism that took place in the men's restroom in the east pavilion. 

Lytle Superintendent Justin Grady has said the damage included the vandals destroying a stainless steel paper towel dispenser, breaking a light sensor, and breaking a soap dispenser and getting soap all over the floor. He also has said the vandals took a large rock from above the pavilion's underground cistern for rainwater and placed this stone on a toilet seat.

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Hurst said the police department has responded to 28 calls for service, most involving young juveniles, at Lytle Park since its pool opened on May 31 and the department has taken eight reports, which involved criminal complaints or arrests. He said the cases have involved disorderly conduct for loud profanity, criminal damage to property for vandalism, and battery for fighting. 

Fights, vandalism on the rise in Lytle Park, officials say

"The volume of calls is up," Hurst said. However, he said, the increase is not that much bigger than call volumes for past summers at Lytle Park, adding that this year's volume probably seems even bigger because the pool was closed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lytle Park is part of the Mattoon Township Park District. Hurst said vandalism and other disturbances have remained at fairly normal levels so far this summer at City of Mattoon parks, including Peterson Park.

Crews at Lytle Park and at city parks have done a good job of using security cameras, repairing vandalism damage and responding quickly to disturbances with the end goal of maintaining safe parks, Hurst said.


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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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