Vandals Deface Pickleball Courts —— Again has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.

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The State Journal- Register (Springfield, IL)


For the second time in less than a month, Springfield Park District police are investigating obscene vandalism at Iles Park's pickleball courts.

The spray-painting of lewd comments and an obscene drawing occurred between 11 p.m. Monday and 7 a.m. Tuesday and caused about $5,000 in damage to the courts, said Springfield Park District Police Chief Laimutis "Limey" Nargelenas.

A similar incident happened July 7 or 8, the same weekend a large pickleball tournament was played at the park, 2000 S. Sixth St. The repeat offense has law enforcement changing strategies in an attempt to nab the spray-painters.

Nargelenas said the park district plans to install cameras on the pickleball courts and may assign overtime patrols. Park district police do not conduct night time patrols; it's the responsibility of the Springfield Police Department. The park district also has asked Springfield police to increase evening park patrols.

"We don't like to put cameras up in the parks because we'd like people to enjoy their privacy," Nargelenas said. "But when these types of things happen and the costs of the damage escalates, then we're going to try and apprehend these individuals."

The Iles Park and Harvard Park neighborhood associations also plan on meeting with their neighborhood police officer to discuss the issue.

Jack Handy, president of the Springfield Pickleball Club, said the organization spent nearly $20,000 in April to resurface and paint the courts. He suggested installing motion sensor cameras and lights to deter would-be vandals.

"This morning, when the police came out, the two courts that were vandalized (were closed). ... The other six courts were full of people and others were waiting to play," Handy said. "So that's just a shame because that facility is so heavily used by the community. It's just not fair."

People with information on this or other crimes can submit tips anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 788-8427 or they can submit a tip online at Tips can also be sent by text. Type TIP672 plus a message and send to CRIMES. Informants are eligible for cash rewards of up to $2,500, in all crimes except homicides. Tips leading to arrest(s) in any homicide in Sangamon or Menard counties will pay up to $5,000.

Contact Brenden Moore: 788-1526, [email protected],

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August 2, 2018


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