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Skate park receives added security

Published:   |   Updated: September 4, 2013 at 12:06 PM

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SPRING HILL - The county has beefed up security at Stewy's Skate Park after a teen broke in and vandalized the concession stand last week.

The suspected teen, whose name is being withheld by Hernando Today due to his age, was arrested Aug. 26 in connection with that break-in. He was released to his family, who live in Pasco County.

Four days later, he was arrested for aggravated domestic violence for threatening to hit his father over the head with a hammer, according to Kevin Doll, community relations director for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.

The teen told a Pasco County deputy he "tried to kill his dad with a hammer," according to a sheriff's report.

He then told the deputy he broke into a dollar store the night before and stole cough medicine, consuming an unknown amount. The teen was transported to the Land O' Lakes Juvenile Assessment Center.

Recreation Coordinator Harry Johnson said prior to concessionaire Sean Cunningham opening at the park, the county had spent some $1,000 repairing previously damaged roll-up windows at the stand and added a security bar.

The roll-up window is typically the preferred method of entry for vandals and the upgrade seems to have worked at Stewy's, he said.

The county also installed some iron metal bars over the window to prevent someone from squeezing through, Johnson said.

Parks Maintenance Supervisor Roy Link said the county spent an additional $100 by installing a lock plate over the stand's dead bolt, which prevents someone from taking a screwdriver and bending it back to gain entry.

Link said he knows full well that criminals will always find a way to break into a building despite the best security devices.

But at least this will provide more of a deterrent, he said.

"Hopefully, this doesn't prevent him from moving forward," Link said. "It sounds like he has a good attitude and he is going to continue to keep the concession open."

Link said there are many park patrons counting on him staying open.

"There's always one bad apple in the crowd," he said. "There's not a whole lot you can do about that.

"But you can't just shut down operations."

Meanwhile, Cunningham is appreciative of the county's efforts to help and said he does not plan to close. He will put a bucket outside his stand and ask for donations to purchase a motion detector to further deter break-ins.

"People don't want to see it closed down and I don't want to see it closed down," he said.

Hernando Today reporter Wendy Joan Biddlecombe contributed to this report.

(352) 544-5290

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