Chester vandalism was not reported for month

CHESTER – The latest act of vandalism to the Dr. David S. Pugh Overlook was more than a month old before it was reported to police, Chester City Council learned on Monday.

The time stamp on video surveillance footage of the vandalism indicates the damage occurred around 4 a.m. March 23 – 34 days before it was reported to the Chester Police Department on April 26.

Councilman Dennis Murray made the discovery as he was reviewing the footage captured by a video camera the city installed last year after repeated acts of vandalism at the Overlook.

Murray said he kept going back further and further and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t seeing anything. He then happened upon footage showing four people – possibly juveniles – circling the First Street memorial and looking for areas to damage. He said the video shows them pushing the bricks off the front wall, one by one.

“We’re pretty sure we know who they are,” said Councilman John Woodruff, who checks on the Overlook regularly.

Woodruff said he didn’t notice the damage sooner because he normally focuses on the area of the bronze plaque memorializing Pugh, a Chester physician who died in 2001. The decorative bricks surrounding the plaque were damaged last year.

The most recent damage, he said, was not readily apparent, until one day when Woodruff was throwing something away in the trash can in front of the Overlook and noticed the bricks laying behind the wall.

City officials believe the suspects are local and that at least two of them are 14 or 15 years old.

At least one is of driving age and drives a black or dark blue pickup truck or sport-utility vehicle, they said.

On Monday, council approved the purchase of bricks and epoxy to repair the damage. Woodruff said he may be able to get donated labor.

Council also:

Accepted an estimate of $1,800 from English’s Cleaning Service for the stripping and waxing of the multi-purpose room, kitchen and storage area of the Chester Municipal Building;

Learned that the Police Civil Service Commission is accepting applications for an entry-level police officer position through May 31. The civil service test includes a written part and a physical agility part. Applications may be picked up at the Chester Police Department, 600 Indiana Ave., Suite 200;

Declared May Poppy Month in recognition of the poppy program by the Chester American Legion Post 121 Auxiliary;

Discussed the installation of “Jake brake” signs on the west end of town, at the U.S. Route 30 interchange and on the Route 30 hill near Taylor Road; and

Discussed the perennial problem of high grass and grass clippings clogging city drains.

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