Vandals strike at Westerly lacrosse fields

Members of a Westerly youth lacrosse league work to repair a lacrosse goal on Friday, May 16, 2014.

Police are looking for clues after they said someone vandalized lacrosse fields in Westerly.

Police arrived at the fields at the Bradford Preserve on Bradford Road early Friday morning after a passerby noticed the vandalism, the Westerly Sun reported.

Nearly 175 children play on the fields, six nights a week.

"I'm really most concerned about the impact to the children. We work hard to teach them the respect of the land, the neighbors, their equipment, and so forth. And then they show up for a game and they see that somebody deliberately did this. What message does this send to an 8-year-old?" said Terri Hiltz of Westerly Area Youth Lacrosse.

Hiltz said that nets had been sliced and taken from the goals. Vandals also took a shovel and dug deep holes in the fields.

The league spent Friday replacing the nets.

"Obviously this is message of 'We don't want you here,'" said Adam Kaufman of Westerly Area Youth Lacrosse.

The fields used to be farmland. The more than 100 acres was bought by the town through a bond referendum for open space, hiking trails and recreation.

Four years ago, the youth lacrosse league was able to get the zoning for the area changed, and the sporting activities began. But then they started getting pushback from angry neighbors.

Some neighbors told NBC 10 that they had heard the same news, but that it doesn't bother them.

"I've heard that, but I don't agree with it. I live right here right across from it, it doesn't bother me in the least," said Bob Harwood.

"I was in opposition to recent expansion of these fields from one to four fields, but there's no call for this," said Dan King.

Police said they are questioning area residents who may have surveillance video that may have caught the vandals, the newspaper reported.