Wintry weather continues to be an invitation for joy ride-related vandalism at East Wake High School.
Officials are searching for the person responsible for damaging the school’s football practice field in a pickup truck on Tuesday, Feb. 24, after the first of two waves of snow that week. It marked the third time in the past five years similar crimes have occurred at the school.
East Wake Athletic Director Jon Hasbrouck said coach Darrin Stinson discovered the field in shambles once the snow had melted the next day. Wake County Public Schools security was notified and a report was filed with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office shortly after 2 p.m. last Wednesday.
Unlike a near-identical incident reported two years ago, the recent vandalism took place in broad daylight. Surveillance cameras on the back of the school recorded video of what appears to be a burgundy Dodge Ram entering the field from the side closest to the tennis courts shortly after noon and exiting on the baseball field end.
“This time we at least have a description of the truck and we have video of them on the field for about two minutes,” Hasbrouck said. “We just have not been able to identify the tags.”
Hasbrouck said he hadn’t assessed the damage as of Friday, but that the truck left deep ruts in a number of spots and that the turf was damaged throughout the length and width of the field.
“The Bermuda (grass) is dormant and whatever winter rye we had out there, obviously that will be gone,” he said. “Obviously we are very disappointed and if we can get any help from the community we would like to get it, because we do take pride in our fields and this is a shame that someone would do this.”
A pickup truck also showed up in surveillance footage from the February, 2013 vandalism. It occurred at 12:45 a.m., however, and it was difficult to make out the color and make of the vehicle. Hasbrouck said at the time it looked like a Ford truck, but said he couldn’t be certain.
The post-snow trend began in 2011, when four-wheelers tore through the school’s soccer practice field adjacent to Rolesville Road. That event prompted Hasbrouck to begin checking on his facilities after such weather events.