Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

January 28, 2013

Vandalism angers mayor

Rochelle — Vandals struck at least two locations in downtown Rochelle overnight Thursday, and Mayor James Rhodes has appealed to people in the community to help stop this unnecessary destruction.

“It just upsets me so much,” he said. Windows were broken in the building that the city donated to the Patriot Library and benches and tables were overturned in the veterans park.

Volunteers have worked tirelessly to improve the library building so that the people of Rochelle will have their own library, Rhodes said. This is not the first time vandals have struck this building, and Jim Fitzgerald who has led the effort to open the library also is angry about the needless destruction.

He said a brick was thrown through one window with such force that it came to rest 40 feet across the inside room floor leaving bits of glass in its path. The second window was destroyed, he said, when a concrete block was thrown through it and landed about 10 feet inside the room.  One of the transom windows was also damaged. 

Based on the cost of replacing the window which was destroyed on the front of the building a couple of months ago by vandals, Fitzgerald says, the estimated cost of replacing these windows will be over $1,000. 

“It is particularly disheartening to have to deal with this kind of destructive behavior when we are working hard to raise enough money to replace a badly needed roof,” he commented. ”The vandalism is being thoroughly investigated by the police department.  If you have any information about this vandalism or the persons responsible for it, please contact the Rochelle Police Department.”

To desecrate the veterans park is unthinkable in Rhodes’ mind. “This park was built to honor our veterans, and I can’t imagine why anyone would purposely damage it. Nothing was stolen. Someone just made a big mess.”

Police regularly patrol the streets of Rochelle, but as the mayor says, “they can’t be everything all the time. We need the help of our citizens to help identify the person or persons responsible for this vandalism.”

If anyone knows anything, he or she is asked to notify the police. “This kind of thing didn’t happen when I was younger,” Rhodes says. “I just don’t understand.”

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