BELLOWS FALLS -- Police have arrested a young man in connection with vandalism at the Bellows Falls Boys & Girls Club, but the executive director of the Brattleboro chapter said health hazards have indefinitely shut down the Church Street location.
Beth Baldwin said the Bellows Falls club, which is affiliated with the one in Brattleboro, was ransacked Monday night by someone who broke into the building the club rents from Immanuel Episcopal Church and caused water damage, emptied the fire extinguishers' contents and wrote vulgar graffiti. The Bellows Falls Police Department stated in a press release that someone was taken into custody, but there is still an active investigation and anyone with information about the crime is asked to call 802-463-1234.
A name had not been released as of Tuesday afternoon.
Baldwin told the Reformer the building is uninhabitable right now due to the water damage and the chemicals from the fire extinguishers. No one is allowed inside.
"They made a huge mess. There's paint, there's food everywhere, there's writing on the inside of the building," she said. "There is a ton of damage."
Baldwin said she was told the young person arrested is not associated with the Club, adding that that would have been a "huge slap in the face." According to the BFPD, officers were dispatched to the Boys & Girls Club at 12 Church St. at 7:43 p.m. on Monday for an unknown alarm sounding. The person taken into custody was ordered to be held at the Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Colchester.
Baldwin said a lot of supplies and furniture were damaged or destroyed and monetary donations would be helpful. Though material contributions also would be appreciated, Baldwin said the Club does not a have a storage facility to hold them. She specifically said art and school supplies and the Club's pool table were badly damaged.
"We're looking for a temporary/long-term alternative space because we're not going to be able to get back into that building for an extended period of time," she said. "Our goal is to get programs up and running as quickly as possible and we're just asking children and families to be patient."
If you would like to help, contact Baldwin at 802-254-5990.
Arresting Officer Thaddeus Buckley did not return an e-mail before press time.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.