Blue Ash sports complex vandalized, suspects sought

Blue Ash sports complex vandalized, suspects sought
Blue Ash police are looking for the suspect who vandalized a sports complex late Thursday night into Friday morning.

BLUE ASH, OH (FOX19) - Blue Ash police are trying to find the person who vandalized the Blue Ash Sports Center Friday.

Police were called to the complex around 4:15 a.m. to perform a check of the area when they found trash cans knocked over by the concession stand.

Police say both the male and female bathrooms at Field "B" were also damaged.

Officers found broken mirrors and heavy damage to stall doors. Trash cans were also dumped out in the bathrooms as well.

Police say they found no tools or objects left behind by the vandals.

A homeless man, Dante Craig, who works nearby and stays in the men’s restroom at night to shelter from the cold was found getting ready to leave for work by officers.

Craig told officers he found the damage when he came into sleep around 11 p.m. Thursday and cleared a spot among the shards of glass so he could lay down and sleep.

Officers returned to the complex around 6:30 a.m. for a report of more damage from an employee who had just arrived at work.

Larry McConnaughey told police he noticed the rear door standing open to the main building when he got to work. When he walked in, McConnaughey said he saw extensive damage throughout the building.

Police found two outside windows broken, but said they didn’t appear to be how the vandals got into the building due to jagged glass left along the frame.

A window near the front door appeared to be hit with a garbage bin, police said, and the door that was open showed no signs of forced entry. Glass was also broken out of the windowpane of an office door.

Police say they also found damage to the modem and router systems in one of the rooms, and a Dell computer that appeared to have been hit several times was severely damaged.

Footprints were found leading to and from the main building and the bathroom. Police measured the footprints and took pictures of them for evidence.

The prints had a distinct diamond-type tread pattern, police say.

Police found vulgarity written in the snow near the main building with ‘f--- you’ written in large letters.

Officers looked at security video from the Kroger next door and saw two vehicles pulling into the front lot near Grooms Road around 10:34 p.m. Thursday.

The vehicles then left around 12 a.m. Friday. Police were unable to identify the vehicle types from the video.

Police interviewed two men walking nearby the complex and checked out their shoes to see if they matched the evidence found in the tracks leading to and from the building, but the footprints did not match.

Officers found Craig sleeping in the bathroom when they returned to investigate and took a picture of the bottom of his shows.

They say the pattern was similar to the footprints found when collecting evidence but Craig denied having any part in the vandalism.

Police say Craig is cooperating with the investigation and told officers he is positive he will not show up on any security cameras at the time of the incident. He does not have any criminal or traffic record.

A rough preliminary damage estimate shows between $8,000 and $10,000 worth of damage.

The complex says no employees have been fired and though they’ve experienced issues with graffiti before, they’ve never been vandalized like this.

Officers suggested the complex set up fake security cameras around the building and motion activated floodlights to deter further crime.

Police have no suspect information at this time.

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