Teens caught on video burning Port St. John Library playground down

Brevard County Sheriff's Office calls it 'an act of criminal mischief'

By Justin Warmoth - Anchor

PORT ST. JOHN, Fla. - An act of criminal mischief -- that's what the Brevard County Sheriff's Office is saying about two juveniles, who they say burned down the Port St. John Library playground last month.

Local 6 obtained surveillance video that catches the two teenagers walking behind the library right after the fire started. The video shows one of the suspects carrying, what police said, is a red gas can.

Helen Dezendorf is the president of Friends of the Port St. John Library. She said her group raised more than $20,000 to have the playground built back in 2007 by having holiday raffle drawings and bake sales.

"From February of 2002 to summer of 2007 we were raising money," said Dezendorf.

Library officials said the fire caused several of the libraries windows to break as well.

"It was bright blue and red and white and it was enormous. So, yeah, you notice it's gone," said Dezendorf, explaining what the playground looked like.

Dezendorf said the playground served more than just a place where children could swing and slide. It also encouraged kids to view the library as a fun and happy place.

"With our children's programs, one of the things they like is they have to be still for an hour, then they come out here and carry on as much as they want. Now, that's gone," she said.

The library told Local 6 that they don't have enough money in their budget to build another playground and unless they get a donation, the piece of land will stay vacant.

If you recognize the two teenagers in the surveillance video, police want you to contact them or call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.

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