Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crime Wave Hits Coney Island Boardwalk - Lifeguard Station Torched

Destroyed lifeguard station. (Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.


Coney Island’s fabled beachfront just got hit with a huge wave -- a crime wave.

Authorities are investigating a recent string of at least five seaside crimes at lifeguard stations and other city Parks Department-run facilities, including burglaries, vandalism and a suspected arson, according to the New York Post.

The boardwalk’s main bathroom facility at Stillwell Avenue – which came under fire in July after the Post busted workers rationing toilet paper there – was closed for days for repairs before recently reopening after saboteurs on Nov. 18 cut a series of electrical power lines and wires under the boardwalk, causing a loss of power.

Charred lifeguard equipment.

The late-night incidents began Nov. 2 – weeks after the boardwalk’s season ended -- when a burglar cut open secured gates at a West 22nd Street lifeguard station and spray painted the walls and lockers inside, NYPD sources said.

Two days earlier on Nov. 16, burglars cut through a locked door at a boardwalk utility room on West 5th Street and stole 30 feet of electrical wire, which can be sold for big bucks because of the copper inside, NYPD sources said.

The next day a suspicious boardwalk fire broke out at lifeguard station and bathrooms at West 33rd Street. It took 60 firefighters to put out the blaze but not before the most of the station and its rescue equipment were destroyed.

FDNY sources said someone cut a padlock to get in and that fire marshals are investigating it as arson.

On Nov. 4, a burglar attempted to break into a West 16th lifeguard station but failed to pry open a locked gate.

Geoffrey Croft of the watchdog group NYC Park Advocates blamed the crimes on a lack of cops and peace officers assigned to monitor beaches and other parkland – especially overnight.

“There’s no enforcement of our park facilities, and it is worse overnight,” he said.

The Parks Department says it is working with NYPD to address the vandalism.

Read More:

New York Post - November 28, 2011 - By Rich Calder and Doug Auer

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