'Donut-spinning' vandals damage West St. Paul fields, possibly delaying season

Just a few weeks ago, vandals damaged fields in Hastings by driving all over the turf. Now, it's happened again.

The city of West St. Paul has been busy making sure their soccer fields are ready for the spring season, but a discovery over the weekend has left them scrambling to make sure their fields are safe for the players.

On Monday morning, crews from the Parks and Recreation Department were surprised to see someone had done donuts in the West St. Paul sports complex field, leaving a mess behind.

“I got a call, a text actually from my maintenance foreman and said, ‘hey you’ll never guess, we had some damage on our fields,’” said Dave Schletty, Assistant Parks Director for the city. “Over the last few years, we’ve spent about $1 million in renovations and so we’re almost to the point it’s where we want it to be, and now we have something like this.”

Now, the West St. Paul Police are involved.

“We believe it was a single vehicle that drove on the fields and accelerated rapidly in many parts of it, tearing up the grass and exposing quite a bit of dirt,” Lieutenant Brian Sturgeon said.

Police say the driver had to drive on pedestrian walkways to access the fields, and caused thousands of dollars in damage.

“That’s money that’s not budgeted, and it does create a little bit of an issue with the budgeting,” Sturgeon said.

What's worse, the field repairs could push back the soccer season for hundreds of players. 

“We really won’t be able to get the big heavy equipment out there until everything is nice and dry, so middle of next week maybe,” Schletty said.

The parks department wants the public to know this is a very disappointing situation.

“The joyride for 10 minutes, it’s a lot more damage than you might think, and police want the person responsible to understand they could face time behind bars for that ride," Schletty said.

"It’s a felony level offense based on the amount of damage that has occurred, so they’re looking at fines, jail time, potentially prison time,” Sturgeon added.

The parks department said they already had plans to install security cameras, which will be placed later this season to try to prevent something like this from happening again.

If you have any information about who caused this vandalism you can call the West St. Paul Police.