Vandals are setting benches and swings in Marine Park ablaze, according to residents.
“There was an accelerant that was used to burn one of the benches next to the bocce court,” Mike Camporeale, who is a member of the Marine Park Bocce Club, said at last week’s Marine Park Civic Association meeting.
City Councilmember Lew Fidler said other park property has been set on fire.
“This has been an ongoing problem for us in the park – not just the bocce courts,” he said. “The repeated torching of the handicapped swing – that’s just disgusting.”
Camporeale said many Marine Park Bocce Club members, several of whom are seniors, are now uneasy about entering the park.
“It’s getting to the point where we’re scared to go there at night,” he said.
Fidler believes the same person or people are responsible for all the fire-related vandalism in the park.
“I have a feeling that if we find the person that burned that swing, we’ll find the person who burned that bocce court,” he said.
Police officers from the 63rd Precinct asked residents to call 911 if they witness illegal or suspicious behavior.
“If you see something, please call 911,” said Sgt. Christine Bastedenbeck. “If it feels wrong, if it feels suspicious, give us a call.”
Bastedenbeck said the precinct is also focused on burglaries, following rumors last month that home break-ins were on the rise.
“Since the last [Marine Park Civic] meeting, we’ve had zero burglaries. That’s great,” Bastedenbeck said.
But there have been robberies of local businesses.
“We have had a couple robberies within the precinct,” Bastedenbeck acknowledged.
That includes an incident on September 29 when two males attempted to rob a UPS deliveryman dropping off packages in front of 4109 Kings Highway. The deliveryman was shot in the leg.
On October 17 at 11:30 p.m., three suspects robbed a woman of her purse and laptop computer at knifepoint. Her nine-year-old daughter and her five-year-old stepson were present at the time of the attack, which occurred at Avenue L and East 53rd Street.
Bastedenbeck said the 63rd Precinct’s detective squad investigates the robberies.