Thieves damage, swipe expensive Johnson County playground equipment

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EDGERTON, Kan. — Thieves have threatened the fun at a Johnson County playground. They stole several items of expensive equipment, and park police are searching for the suspects. 

Last week, Johnson County Park Police noticed a stolen wooden toolbox and stolen swing. They believe thieves also damaged other playground equipment and swiped four mallets kids use to make music.

It happened overnight from June 17- June 18 at Big Bull Creek Park in Edgerton.

Sergeant Vanessa Burkholder said the worst part about it is that criminals are stealing from kids. 

“It’s sad because this is just a different type of playground,” Burkholder said. “It offers the kids the chance to get into nature, get into the creek, get their hands dirty, it’s totally nature based, which is not the typical playground for the kids to enjoy. So when somebody comes down here and tears it up, it’s sad for those kids.”

Burkholder said repairs will cost more than $6,000.

“I would be really sad because I really like the swings,” 7-year-old Theia Madril said.

“I think that’s pretty awful that somebody would come in and steal equipment that children love to play with,” Beth Johnson said.

“There’s better things to do than vandalize a park that kids play at and cherish,” mom Hannah Madril said.

She and her kids visit the park every week. It’s one of their favorite places to play and learn.

“It’s sad because this is supposed to be a special place for kids to come play for someone to just come and try to take that away from younger kids it’s selfish and unfair,” Madril said.

“What they did is upsetting to the kids and things can be replaced but kids experience out here in the park is what we’re looking for and it took away from their experience out in the park while they were here,” Burkholder said.

While maintenance is working on it, kids tackled the untouched spider web, rockwall and looked at the bright side of two poles now missing a swing. 

“Not too bad because then I could use those for climbing and stuff,” young Landon said.

Park police continue to investigate. If you see anything suspicious at any of the parks, Burkholder encourages you to report it. 

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