Portsmouth beach vandalism draws ire of police, rec director

Two Sandy Point Beach lifeguard chairs fished out of water

By Jim McGaw
Posted 8/16/18

PORTSMOUTH — “It’s been a crazy summer,” Recreation Director Wendy Bulk said in reference to an ongoing problem of vandalism that’s plagued Sandy Point Beach in …

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Portsmouth beach vandalism draws ire of police, rec director

Two Sandy Point Beach lifeguard chairs fished out of water

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — “It’s been a crazy summer,” Recreation Director Wendy Bulk said in reference to an ongoing problem of vandalism that’s plagued Sandy Point Beach in recent weeks.

Police are investigating several acts of vandalism at the town-owned beach, ranging from lifeguard chairs that have been tossed into the water to graffiti spray-painted on the restroom building.

“At the beginning of the summer, we were receiving calls pretty much on a daily basis,” Detective Lt. Michael C. Arnold of the Portsmouth Police Department said Thursday. “It started off with bolts being taken out of the lifeguard chairs and graffiti spray-painted on the outside of the bathrooms. Then they started tipping the chairs over.”

Police received a report on Aug. 9 that one lifeguard chair was missing and then another was reported gone on Aug. 14, he said.

“DPW put another (chair) down because we’re supposed to have three,” Lt. Arnold said.

At first, neither Ms. Bulk nor police knew what had happened to the chairs. After the first chair went missing, the recreation director figured it had been stolen, while Lt. Arnold said police thought the chair may had been thrown into the ocean but then sank to the bottom. 

Police and members of the Fire Department both went out searching by boat, he said. One of the chairs was found Wednesday in the waters near the Glen Manor House — just north of the beach — while another was spotted on a private beach, Lt. Arnold said.

“We found out that they float,” he added.

A third chair is believed to still be missing, so police notified the Coast Guard since it could pose a safety hazard to boaters, he said. “We’d hate to have a jet ski or a boat run into it,” Lt. Arnold said.

Ongoing issue

The recent incidents are nothing new, as police have received seven reports of vandalism at the beach since July 13, Lt. Arnold said. Besides the damaged chairs and graffiti, the town has also been dealing with trash being left behind on the beach.

“There was also broken glass right at the entrance, where people walk. It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Ms. Bulk.

Police have no suspects as of yet.

“We’ve been increasing patrols down there and detectives are working the case,” Lt. Arnold said.

Ms. Bulk said police “have been good about monitoring” beach activities.

The recreation director has also heard complaints of youths partying on a section of the beach to the north that’s not owned by the town. 

“Kids go to the private area and party over there and basically there’s nothing anyone can do about that,” she said, adding the youngsters say they have permission from the landowners.

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