LODI — Windows in the 70-year-old American Legion Memorial Building are boarded up after members of Post 22 discovered six broken windows on Monday.
Rocks and chunks of concrete were used to break the windows, but the vandalism was not unexpected. Vandals and thieves often target the building which houses a ballet company and is home to numerous community events including Post 22’s annual crab feed.
Members of the American Legion Post don’t think the broken windows are a statement against the veterans group.
“I just think it was a homeless person that was high on drugs or had some mental disability,” Martin Jones, the building manager and an ex-marine, told FOX40.
The building is located in Lawrence Park, which the city considered fencing off last year because of the number of homeless people who camped there. The bathrooms have been locked and picnic tables and benches removed after numerous bonfires were ignited by overnight campers. No trespassing signs, razor wire and fencing around the building haven’t been effective.
“They still keep doing what they do,” Jones said.
Jones says repairing the windows will be an out-of-pocket expense for the Post although he says he can do the labor himself. Several donations have already been received from community members who heard of the vandalism.
Jones said other parks have the same problems including several baseball fields near the building. Last weekend the grandstand building at the adjacent Tony Zupo Field was burned down. That fire is still under investigation by Lodi Police.