Vandals hit Joplin park ahead of ceremony

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) – Police in Joplin are looking for the vandals who damaged a city park on the eve of a ceremony for the second anniversary of the May 2011 tornado.

KOLR-TV reports crews were able to repair the damage in time for Wednesday’s observance, which drew U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other dignitaries.

Police say the vandalism at Cunningham Park occurred sometime Tuesday night. Someone broke a lock on a fence around a swimming pool and opened a valve, allowing more than 200,000 gallons of water to drain out.

Large landscaping rocks around a reflecting pond were also thrown into the water. Total damage is estimated at roughly $4,000.

About 2,500 people attended Wednesday’s observance at the park, where 161 trees have been planted to honor the 161 people killed in the tornado.

Information from: KOLR-TV,

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