Venice Island vandalism suspect, 15, turns self in


Police reported today that a teenager caught on surveillance tape causing an estimated $20-30,000 in damage to the brand new Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center in Manayunk has turned himself in.

The vandal, 15, is charged with criminal mischief.

Police did not identify the suspect, a minor, but said he turned himself in to police today.

“I’m glad that somebody turned themselves in because at least it shows me that they have some understanding of what their actions were,” said Jane Lipton, executive director of the Manayunk Development Corporation, a group that supported the center’s construction. “I would love to hear what was in his head when he was doing that.”

Police said they received a tip on Saturday identifying the suspect after they released surveillance footage of the crime.

The footage shows a teenager strolling aimlessly in front of the recreation center causing destruction while another teen looks on around 2 a.m. on Nov. 8.

The damage is all caused by one boy, who is seenbreaking LED accent lights and pull out rope lighting from under the handrails of the stairs.

The state-of-the-art environmentally friendly center opened Oct. 7 and cost $46 million. A joint project, the center was built over stormwater management tanks and will be maintained by the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation. It features a 250-seat theater, basketball courts and spray parks.

“As a community, we were really shocked that any person from this neighborhood, regardless of age, would damage this brand new facility, which is going to offer so much to people of every age” Lipton said. “We worked for 10 years to get this, and less than a month after the ribbon-cutting, they did this.”

Information was not immediately available for Parks and Recreation about when the damage caused by the vandals will be repaired.

Watch surveillance footage of the vandalism below.

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