County Executive outraged over latest round of park vandalism

May 27, 2015

There has been another round of park vandalism, this time at the Black Rock Canal Park in Buffalo's Riverside neighborhood.

Smashed window on construction vehicle at Black Rock Canal Park.
Credit Photo provided by the Erie County Executive's Office

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz met with reporters Wednesday in front of the Rath Building in downtown Buffalo. He said vandals caused more than more $30,000 in damage and theft in four incidents over the Memorial Day weekend.

The latest incident occurred Monday night. Poloncarz said he is fed up.

"I'm sick of this. We invest millions of dollars of the public's money to create a better park system ," said Poloncarz. "The parks were exceptionally busy this past weekend. I can't call them numbskulls, these are criminals that are coming out and causing damage to the park and in this situation, it's not just damage, they're actually stealing equipment."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncars & Chief Scott Joslyn, with the County Sheriff's Department meet with reporters outside the Rath Building to discuss the vandalism & thefts at the Black Rock Canal Park in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Black Rock Canal Park is undergoing a major reconstruction project of more than $1 million. A number of construction contractors say their vehicles were damaged and materials were stolen. Some county equipment was also stolen. 

"This is the fourth time in the month of May that Black Rock Canal Park has received damaged, stolen property," said Troy Schinzel, Commissioner of Parks for Erie County. "It'll probably set us back on a construction timeline."

Poloncarz said vandalism will not be tolerated and wants those responsible "behind bars." 

"I want to see the individuals who do these types of things incarcerated," said Poloncarz. "They should be held responsible. They should be punished and they should be serving jail time for causing this much damage and this much theft. 

Construction vehicle damaged at Black Rock Canal Park.
Credit Photo provided by the Erie County Executive's Office

The Erie County Sheriff's Department and Buffalo Police are ramping up patrols. Chief Scott Josyln with the Sheriff's Department said in the last 24 hours, they conducted at least 20 premise checks of just local county parks.

"We have made this a priority. We're looking for anyone with information," said Joysln.

Citizens are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 858-2903 if they know of any suspicious activity. Anyone with information is also asked to call Crime Stoppers at 867-6161, which is offering an up to $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those response.

"We have a couple of leads we are following up on now," said Chief Josyln.

"This is a crime against all of the citizens of Erie County, when it is being down against public property, and it is a crime against our contractors who are trying to do their job to help us turn a park into a better facility and then they found their supplies are stolen and their vehicles are smashed and trashed," added Poloncarz.