The South Charlotte Recreation Association will have to pay an estimated $10,000 to repair damage after its athletics facilities at Olde Providence Elementary School were vandalized.
According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, Samuel Miller, 19; Shaquille Kelty, 19; a 15-year-old male; and a 14-year-old female have been charged with felony breaking and entering, felony larceny after breaking and entering and felony damage to property in connection with the March 17 incident.
Miller and Kelty also were charged with two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Kelty also was charged with resisting arrest.
The two minors were issued curfew violations.
According to police, the four teens were playing on the dugouts during the early morning hours of March 17 when Kelty said he was hungry and suggested breaking into the concession stand.
The four wandered the property, causing damage to the concession area and the bathrooms; at one point, someone smashed one of the toilets, police said.
The noise alerted a nearby neighbor, who called police.
“Officers responded and observed there was all the damage and candy on the floor. There was a trail of candy leading back toward the woods,” CMPD Detective Steve Whitesel said. “Police followed the candy trail into the woods, and that’s where they found three of the teenagers.”
Kelty ran from police and a warrant was issued for his arrest, Whitesel said.
The recreation association, in partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Department, oversees the nine baseball fields, the soccer field and football field at the elementary school.
“There’s been vandalism in the past, but not to this extent,” said Barry Hall, president of the association.
Hall added that the association is researching video-surveillance services to prevent future vandalism at the fields.
Lawyers already have advised the association that a judge is not likely to make the perpetrators pay for the damage, Hall said.
Hall said association members are turning to a raffle at their annual spring jamboree for help. The association hopes to sell 25,000 raffle tickets for $1 each, with some of the proceeds going to repairs.
The top three prizes in the raffle are a 55-inch color television, an iPad and Dr. Dre beats headphones. The individual who sells the winning ticket and the one who purchases the ticket will both get the same prize, for first, second and third place.
The drawing will be during the jamboree, which begins at 9 a.m. on April 27 at Olde Providence Elementary School. Hall said the association hopes to make repairs soon, especially given that more than 600 children are participating in the spring programs at the school’s fields.
“I feel bad having to send out notes that, for the next couple of weeks, they’ll have to use Porta-Johns and they may not have concessions because of this,” he said. “It detracts from the experience we’re trying to provide for the kids.”
Hall said he also feels bad for the four teens facing charges and wondered if any of them had participated in the recreation association’s programs; maybe it could have helped, he said.
“We’re all about building kids up and building their character and instilling the right values, and these kids might not have had that opportunity,” he said. “That’s probably the thing that bothers me the most.”
Arriero: 704-804-2637; Twitter: @earriero
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