Copper thieves take 23 nozzles from fountain at Thoroughbred Park; repairs could take days

tcrumbie@herald-leader.comJune 30, 2014 

The horse sculptures will be the only attraction at Thoroughbred Park for the next couple of days because the fountain will be off.

Copper thieves stole 23 fountain heads, causing the Division of Parks and Recreation to shut off the water feature for repairs. Crews were working on the fountain Monday afternoon.

Park officials realized the fountain heads were missing Thursday when they went to do routine maintenance.

No one witnessed the theft of the fountain heads, so police do not have any suspects, spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

In addition to the thefts, the fountain's motor was damaged, and there could be issues with its pumps, said Brad Chambers, director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. Chambers said he was worried that the pumps burned out because there was no water running through them.

Roberts said there was more than $10,000 worth of damage. Parks and Recreation was trying to determine an exact amount.

"It would really depend on how badly any of the pumps were damaged," Chambers said.

Chambers said he did not know how long it would take to fix the fountain.

Phillip Bryant, who was working on the fountain Monday afternoon, said he hoped to have the fountain up and running by Friday for the Fourth of July.

Chambers said money for repairs would come from his repair and maintenance budget, which could lead to problems down the road.

"Common sense tells you that if we spend several thousand dollars out of that budget for this, then we're not going to have it for something else that may need it later," he said.

Chambers said incidents such as this have occurred before at Thoroughbred Park. He said some of its fountain heads were replaced by PVC to prevent future vandalism.

The fountain is quite popular among children who often swim or play in the water.

Still, Chambers said — with the exception of constant police surveillance — there is no real remedy for vandalism. He is hoping the public will keep a close eye on things.

If someone's crawling around in the fountains at 2 or 3 in the morning, Chambers said, people should call the police. The fountains are not for people to enter or play in, he said.

"The more vigilance we can get from citizens who care about the parks, the less this kind of thing will happen," Chambers said.

Trey Crumbie: (859) 231-1687. Twitter: @TreyCrumbieHL.

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