Four youths connected to Wood & Wardrobe vandalism

Kathy Bockus/Courier Some of less profane grafitti painted on the walls of the Wood & Wardrobe thrift store in St. Stephen by vandals during a break in last month.

St. Stephen – Four youth between the ages of 14 years and 16 years will participate in the RCMP’s extra judicial measures program, because of their involvement in a break and enter and vandalism at the Wood & Wardrobe thrift store.

Sgt. Peter Stubbs of the St. Stephen RCMP detachment said the in-house program will be conducted within Regional Service Commission 10.

He said the four young people are not being charged criminally at this time in connection with the incident, which saw graffiti painted on all four walls and the floor of the large room, which originally housed a gymnasium. It is believed the first game of basketball in Canada was played in this former YMCA building on King Street in St. Stephen.

Other smaller upstairs rooms were also attacked with spray paint and carefully packed boxes of clothing and other goods were rummaged through, tipped over and the contents strewn about.

The youths gained access to the building sometime between Oct. 21 and 24, by climbing a very unsteady exterior staircase, that has since been removed. A window was pushed up and open for entry.

“We are pleased with the quick action of the RCMP,” said Tammy Parks. “We are glad it’s been resolved.” Parks added she hoped the experience would change the minds of the youth involved from “doing it to anyone else.”

The thrift store is operated by mentally challenged, adult clients of the St. Croix Vocational Centre. The break in was particularly bothersome because it upset the clients said Parks.
The repair of the damage and graffiti will now cut into the organization’s fundraising efforts to purchase a new van. It will also involve many hours of clean up and painting said Parks.
Stubbs said he wanted to encourage the public to help prevent “this senseless destruction” of private and public property and to call the RCMP if they see anything suspicious.