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MIDDLETON — Vandals caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage to the Lynn Boys & Girls Club’s Camp Creighton less than 90 days before the Middleton property is set to open.
“It’s completely vandalized,” said Executive Director Brian Theirrien. “Anything that could be moved was moved and anything that could be smashed was smashed.”
But, according to Theirrien, the camp is still set to open on June 19.
Tuesday morning, Theirrien got a disturbing phone call from one of the contractors hired to get the camp ready for the season. Vandals made their way in with bats and destroyed the main clubhouse. They smashed windows, ripped off sinks and the drinking fountain, destroyed pool and ping pong tables, and sprayed fire extinguishers.
Officers were called in just after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to Middleton Police Detective Adam Maccini. The initial responding officer walked toward the camp’s clubhouse and saw extensive damage. Maccini said the officer called him to the property to help process the scene.
Every window in the clubhouse was shattered, the two vending machines were pried open and smashed in, everything in the kitchen, including the microwave and refrigerator, was destroyed, the outside shower stalls were demolished, and the administrative office was turned upside down, according to Maccini.
Toys used by campers were ripped apart and the glass aquariums used for science activities were shattered.
Because the vandals set off multiple fire extinguishers, the flame retardant materials that covered the clubhouse made it very difficult to obtain any fingerprints, according to Maccini. Bicycle tracks leading to and from the camp, the shoe print of a Nike “swoosh” symbol, and a Nerf or water gun are the only pieces of evidence the police department currently has, according to the Middleton Police report.
Officers canvassed the property’s surrounding neighborhoods since the camp has no video surveillance. With no current leads, the Middleton Police Department is asking the public for help in identifying possible suspects.
Maccini attended Camp Creighton in the fourth grade. He recalled fond memories of camp sleepovers, telling stories of ghosts, and making lifelong friends.
“Because of this camp, all my friends were from Lynn,” he said. “Whoever did this does not have an understanding of the implication that it has now.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the empty windows throughout the clubhouse were boarded up and Boys & Girls Club employees cleaned up as much as they could. With a dire need for new windows, equipment, sink piping, and wall plaster, local contractors and construction companies are already volunteering their time and materials, according to Theirrien.
“We started a GoFundMe page and the support has been amazing,” Theirrien said. “We are going to do a camp clean up day (sometime in mid-April) and get as many volunteers and contractors up there and go from there. A group from Lynn and group from Middleton are going to come together and fix this camp.”
The significant damage is estimated to be more than tens of thousands of dollars, Theirrien said. The insurance adjuster for the Lynn Boys & Girls Club was at 210 Essex St. to survey the wreckage Thursday morning.
Registration for Camp Creighton began on Monday, the day before the vandalism was found, and 25 families already signed up, according to Theirrien. Every summer, the camp typically serves 210 kids a week from both Lynn and Middleton.
“I’m disappointed because we understand how important this camp is for the kids,” said Theirrien. “There are hundreds of kids who look forward to going every year and the majority of them don’t go on vacation during the summer because their families don’t have the financial means. When they have the opportunity to come to camp with a lake, a pool, open woods, and caring staff, that is their vacation.”