LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – When Jane Byrne got the call, she couldn’t believe it. After more than 16 years as director of parks and recreation in Largo, she can’t ever recall someone purposely damaging holiday decorations at Largo’s Central Park.
Then she found out the suspects were grown men.
“And when I got the police report, I’m like are you kidding me? These are adults,” Byrne said. “Or at least in age they are adults.”
The two men – 27-year old Alex Laky of Hudson and 28-year old Shay Tracy of St. Petersburg – are now facing criminal mischief charges.
Largo police say they received a call around 4 a.m. Thurdsay from a worker at the park who was working overnight security. The worker reported hearing noises around the city’s 35-foot Christmas tree.
When officers arrived, they discovered the two men had scaled the tree, causing hundreds of dollars in damage.
“They broke some of the ornaments, bent some of the branches. Those kinds of things,” said Byrne. “Who knows if we hadn’t called police – because the park is closed.”
People visiting the park are disappointed and disgusted. Aly Kenefick doesn’t understand the motivation.
“It’s not something that I would do personally,” said Kenefick. “Vandalize something so beautiful, that everyone is enjoying. “
Jennifer Mueller is also wondering why?
“I mean, it’s a popular area. At night this place is filled up,” said Mueller. “It’s pretty disgusting that people come here and vandalize stuff. “
8 On Your Side visited Tracy’s home in St. Petersburg on Friday, but no one answered the door. We reached Laky by phone but when a reporter identified himself, Laky hung up.
Byrne is at a loss for words when it comes to senseless acts such as this.
“It’s just stupid, isn’t it?” asked Byrne. “I can’t think of another word other than stupid.”
But, she added, what happened isn’t putting the brakes on the city’s holiday spirit. The park is hosting a North Pole Express event on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m.
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