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Stewy's Skate Park hit by vandals

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Published:   |   Updated: August 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

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SPRING HILL - Sean Cunningham heard through a social media site Sunday morning that he better get over to Stewy's Skate park in a hurry because it looked like vandals had hit his concession stand.

What Cunningham said he found was even worse than he imagined.

The concession stand, that he only just opened less than a month ago, was trashed. Drinks from his cooler had been removed, opened and poured on the ground.

At least 16 skateboards were missing, while some were strewn about the park.

All his paperwork was destroyed.

"They broke in and vandalized the place and pretty much ran amuck," Cunningham said.

The concessionaire spent the last couple days repairing the place and both the park and the stand are open for business.

On Monday afternoon, Cunningham was still cleaning up the ceiling and fans where the Gatorade had made a mess.

Deputies arrived at the park and saw several skateboards - still in their plastic wrappers - by a bench next to the basketball court at adjacent Pioneer Park.

One of the garbage cans was full of unopened candy bars and several skateboard parts.

More skateboards were found discarded by the maintenance building, by the fence line and throughout the park.

Cunningham said the community has been supportive since the incident and several skateboarders have helped him to get the park and concession stand back to working order.

The county has approached him about adding additional security, he said.

Cunningham said he cannot say how much the vandalism has cost him monetarily.

The sheriff's office, however, has put an estimate of $10 for the candy bars, $14 for the Gatorade and $14 for the bottled water.

Stewy's Skate Park is located at Pioneer Park, 6799 Pinehurst Drive.

Deputies said someone pried open and broke the lock on the door.

The suspected vandal, a 17-year-old boy whose name is being withheld by Hernando Today due to his age, was arrested Monday.

When Hernando County investigators went to the suspects' Pasco County home, his father asked "What did he do now?"

He said his son had been high since last Wednesday.

Law enforcement officers said the suspect was under the influence and having a hard time standing up.

The suspect originally denied being at the skate park, but when asked about a cut on his knee, he said, "You got me" and admitted to breaking into the concession stand to steal money.

The suspect said he was high on Xanax and Dramamine on the night of the burglary, and he drank three or four bottles of cough medicine the night before his arrest.

The juvenile was taken to the hospital due to his impaired state and then to jail for processing.

He was then released back to the custody of his parents.

Despite the incident, Cunningham said he is determined to stay open. Nobody, he said, will run him out.

"I worked way too hard," Cunningham said. "For me to shut down is not (an option).

"I'm not going anywhere."

mbates@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5290

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