The van used to transport children to the local Boys and Girls Club as well as to other activities has been vandalized.
The damage occurred between 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, and 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 16, at the Apache Junction branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley, 1755 N. Idaho Road, Constance Halonen, community resource coordinator for the Apache Junction Police Department, said in an e-mailed response to questions Dec. 19.
Police officers observed that the club van had various broken windows and a broken mirror, Ms. Halonen reported. The vehicle was stored in an area inside a 6-foot-tall fence, she said.
A Boys and Girls Club staff member discovered the damage Monday, Dec. 16, shortly after the club opened at 9 a.m.
“One of our staff members had taken out the trash and came in hollering at the top of her lungs to call the police,” Laurie Armstrong, branch executive for the local club, said Dec. 20 in a phone interview. “We are extremely heartbroken that something like this would happen.”
The 14-passenger 2008 Chevy Mid Bus is the club’s only van, Ms. Armstrong said. It is used to pick up children from Sousa Elementary School, 616 N. Mountain Road in Mesa, after school as well as children from other schools who were not able to take the regular bus to the club due to late activities such as cooking classes and detention, Ms. Armstrong said. It also is used for field trips and other activities, she said.
“People need to understand what a bind this puts us in. We may not be able to pick up kids from school,” Ms. Armstrong said. “It’s so trashed we can’t drive it,” she said.
She said the club is fortunate to have the use of a van from the Tempe branch club for about a week but doesn’t know what will happen after the holiday school break.
The van is insured, Ms. Armstrong said, adding the funds to pay the $1,000 deductible are not “readily available.” She said is waiting for the insurance report from the club’s home office in Tempe.
Police are asking anyone with information about the crime to contact the Apache Junction Police Department at 480-982-8260 or via TipSoft. Tips can be sent online by visiting www.tipsoft.com, by iPhone or Android mobile apps or by sending a text message to “CRIMES” (274637) with the keyword “AJPD” from a mobile phone.