KEKAHA — Vandals defaced MacArthur Park and the nearby Kekaha lifeguard tower sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
The act is part of what the county is describing as a flurry of vandalism that happened in the same timeframe at various public facilities around Kauai, including graffiti on speed limit signs.
County spokeswoman Sarah Blane couldn’t elaborate on the locations or how many signs were defaced Tuesday afternoon. Damage estimates also weren’t available.
“Our Parks and Recreation and the Ocean Safety Bureau works hard to maintain the safety and usability of our parks and beaches for everyone,” said Kauai Fire Chief Robert Westerman. “This is disrespectful to the water safety officers who put their lives on the line every day to save lives and to have this done to their place of business is sad.”
Westerman said vandalism hurts the entire community that ultimately has to pay to clean and repair the damage. He is hopeful that residents with information will step forward and contact police.
Alan Yamagata, a water safety officer II with the Ocean Safety Bureau of the Kauai Fire Department, said that when he went to open the western most Kekaha tower at 9 a.m., he noticed there was graffiti on all of the closed window panels.
A quick look around and he noticed there was more graffiti on the Kaumualii Highway side of two of the four park pavilions. There were also garbage bags removed from cans and strewn around the park and there was more graffiti on the highway itself.
“I also found a vodka bottle and a couple of Bud Light cans,” Yamagata said. “The police were looking for empty spray paint cans but I don’t think they found anything.”
The water safety tower closes and 5 p.m. and opens at 9 a.m. The vandalism happened sometime between those hours, he added.
“I didn’t notice anything suspicious when we shut down last night,” he said.
MacArthur Park was named in memory of the late MacArthur Dela Cruz Sr., who passed away in 2009. Erosion of Kekaha beaches caused the water safety tower to be moved to the park in July 2012.
Most graffiti crimes fall under criminal property damage statutes. They become felony second-degree offenses with damages of $15,000, and a first-degree offenses at $20,000.