Two people have been charged after a hall owned by the Riverbend Community League was vandalized extensively over the New Year’s weekend.
A volunteer arrived at Brookside Hall (5320 – 143 St.) on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022 to find it had been trashed.
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The community league had been working to restore the building just off Whitemud Drive and 53 Avenue after it was previously broken into and vandalized back in October.
The organization said no aspect of the hall went untouched: fresh drywall was ripped out, chairs were stuck into the walls, every ceiling panel was smashed.
Slurs and derogatory comments were spray-painted on the walls. Wiring and lighting was hanging from the ceiling. The toilets and sinks in the washrooms and kitchen were smashed.
Police were called to the break-in scene at 10:38 a.m.
Investigators believe the vandalism was carried out overnight between Friday, Dec. 30 and the next morning, when the destruction was discovered.
The Riverbend Community League said the ripple effect of the vandalism affected the community, not allowing programs to be run out of the building such a Girl Guides and daycares.
The group also couldn’t access its water room, meaning the outdoor rink couldn’t be flooded and prepared for skating.
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Videos were posted online showing young people damaging the building, and they were quickly reposted to other social media accounts and seen by many people.
The Edmonton Police Service said thanks to the video and several tips from the public, police quickly identified two of the suspects and both were arrested.
A 15-year-old boy from Edmonton was arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 10 and has since been charged with break-and-enter to commit mischief over $5,000 and theft under $5,000. The teenager can’t be named due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
On Thursday, Jan. 12, police also arrested and charged Carson Baggs, 19, of Spruce Grove, with break-and-enter to commit mischief over $5,000 and theft under $5,000.
There are other suspects still at large, who police believe are between the ages of 15 and 20.
Police continue to investigate and are asking anyone with information about them to please come forward.
Likewise, anyone with dash camera footage or home security footage from the Brookside neighbourhood that captured video during the overnight and early morning hours between Friday, Dec. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 31 are encouraged to contact police.
— with files from Global News’ Meaghan Archer
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