POINT PLEASANT — One of Point Pleasant’s most popular recreational destinations was once again the target of vandalism on Wednesday evening, but this time, not only was the vandalism caught on tape but the vandals were arrested.
According to Point Pleasant Police Chief Ernie Watterson, two juvenile males have been charged with felony third degree arson after allegedly using fingernail polish and fingernail polish remover to set fire to one of the picnic tables under the shelter at the Riverfront Park. All of this was caught on the park’s security cameras and thanks to those cameras, so were the alleged vandals.
A resident walking his dog at the park didn’t see the juveniles set the fire, but smelled smoke and reported it to the Point Pleasant Fire Department on Wednesday evening. Firefighters arrived and took care of the fire before it spread to the rest of the shelter or did any damage beyond destroying the table. Point Fire Chief Jeremy Bryant was also part of the investigation into the arson, along with Watterson and staff from the PPPD.
Watterson said he wanted the public to be aware those security cameras are working and obviously played a significant role in identifying the suspects less than 24 hours after they allegedly set the fire. Watterson said the table that was destroyed was made of synthetic material and is valued at $1,200.
Mayor Brian Billings expressed his frustration over the situation on Thursday in a statement, saying, “So many great citizens have worked so diligently over the years to see that we have a place like the Riverfront Park. It is used by so many, and it is a show place for our community. But then individuals want to destroy it. What do they gain by doing something like this?”
This isn’t the first report of vandalism at the park which in the past included spray painting graffiti over a portion of the historic murals and a ransacking of the men’s restroom facility.