The Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department is all too familiar with what local vandals are capable of doing. But over the weekend vandalism took a new twist when the Parks Department’s boat was taken from the marina and turned loose in the Mississippi River.
“They found it smashed up against the dam at Saverton,” said Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department, who was advised that the roughly 10-foot by 15-foot flat-bottom boat was gone Saturday morning.
The craft had been tied up in the north end of the marina.
“Somebody had to of untie it, maneuver it around everything and either attempted to steal it or just be mean and push it out in the river,” said Dorian.
Parks Department personnel tried unsuccessfully to salvage what was left of the boat Monday.
“One of our employees allowed us to use their boat. The current was too strong and kept snapping the ropes,” said Dorian, adding that workers at the dam eventually were able to remove the wreckage.
Portions of the boat, which was built from spare materials left over from when the new docks were installed, were hauled back to Hannibal on a trailer on Tuesday morning.
“We salvaged the actual floats and the metal frame,” said Dorian.
Lost was the boat’s wood decking and a tool box that was bolted to its deck.
“Obviously what tools were in the tool box are gone,” said Dorian. “We don’t know if someone stole that stuff or (the tool box) was damaged when it hit the dam.”
One shred of good news is that the boat’s motor was not lost.
“The boat motor was not on it at the time. It was being serviced at Jack’s Harbor Marine, so we were lucky there we didn’t lose that,” said Dorian.
As time permits, the boat will be restored.
“We are going to rebuild it. We need it. It’s our work boat. We use it all the time. That’s what we use to fix any of the docks, or to pull logs out,” said the parks director.
Dorian says the dollar loss suffered as a result of the vandalism is not cheap.
“With the wood lost and tools lost it would be over $1,000, plus the time and effort it took to go and try to salvage the thing,” he said.
There is hope that the culprit(s) will be caught.
Page 2 of 2 - “Everybody talks. That’s how we catch most of these people. They’ll put it on Facebook or they talk,” said Dorian.
Vandalism is not uncommon at this time of year in city parks, according to Dorian.
“It’s the middle of summer, getting toward August, and school is out. I don’t know if there is a correlation or not, but we have in the past seen an uptick in vandalism toward the middle of summer,” he said. “We’re just keeping vigilant about making sure everything we have is locked and tied down.”
Dorian asks for the public’s help keep watch over city parks.
“I encourage the public to keep a vigilant eye. These are their tax dollars,” he said. “Any time you suspect someone is vandalizing or suspect you’ve seen something, call us or the police department right away. That can only help us.”