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Arlington Boys & Girls Club athletic fields vandalized

ARLINGTON — The staff of the Arlington Boys & Girls Club came into work Oct. 20 to find one of their vans dirtied and the surrounding sports fields torn up by one or more apparent joyriders.

"We were here until 10:30 last night and I got in at 6:30 this morning," Arlington Boys & Girls Club Director Bill Kinney said Oct. 20. "It was foggy when I came in, so when the staff came in at 7:30, they asked me if I'd noticed that one of the vans was covered in mud and grass."

Kinney keeps the keys for all the vans locked in a cabinet in his office, which was also locked and had its alarm on between the time he left in the evening and returned in the morning. Nonetheless, Kinney followed dirt tire tracks from the van leading out to the neighboring baseball, soccer and football fields.

"I followed the marks in the dew of the grass until I got to the fields," Kinney said. "They'd done donuts all over the place."

While the baseball field is simply dirt, and the grass on the football field was too thin for the van to lay down more than muddy tracks that plowed the grass under, the soccer field showed the most severe damage. Tire tracks cut inches deep into the thick, green grass, and clumps of sod were flung as far as 10-12 feet away from where they'd originally laid.

"We have soccer and football practices here from 4:30 in the afternoon on, every day of the week," Kinney said. "Every Saturday, something like 10 football games are played here. They had to be really tearing through to make the grass fly that far."

The van itself showed no signs of damage, and was sitting in its regular parking spot when Kinney showed up for work in the morning.

"It doesn't even look like they busted open the steering column to hot-wire it," Kinney said.

Kinney explained that the athletic directors of the other Boys & Girls Clubs in Snohomish County had pledged to send people to try and repair the soccer field before afternoon games start.

"The players are little kids, not high school kids, so if we put the sod back down, it should hold," Kinney said. "There's probably nothing we can do for the football field, since it's too late in the year to plant new grass."

Kinney declined to estimate what the financial costs of the repairs would be, but anticipated "a lot of man hours" being invested in the effort.

"I've got at least 10 different guys coming down here this afternoon," Kinney said Oct. 20. "It just breaks your heart. People spend so much time keeping these fields nice, and then some morons have to ruin it."

Arlington Police Officer Anthony Davis confirmed that all the van keys were accounted for and the van had sustained no damage to its ignition system or any other parts overnight.

"It's possible that they used shaved keys to break in and start it up," Davis said. "As of now, though, it's a mystery."

Click here to read The Arlington Times story on the field repair, and check The Arlington Times website for further updates.

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