Juveniles break into legion, cause $15,000 in damage
Published 10:27 am Thursday, March 16, 2017
By Jennifer Shrader
A group of juveniles broke in to the American Legion Post 75 building on Hamilton Road sometime over the weekend and “demolished” the site, a representative said Monday.
“They demolished that place,” said Randy Dollar, a former senior vice commander at the legion.
The youths set fires inside the building, broke down walls, crushed a glass display case and jukebox, ransacked file cabinets and punched holes in the roof, he said. They even tried to burn several American flags inside.
“The flag was really what was bad,” Dollar said. “There was a giant American flag on the wall for as long as I can remember. That was just uncalled for.”
Lt. Dale Strickland with LaGrange police said a 16-year-old has been arrested and charged with burglary and criminal damage to property and the department is on the hunt for other suspects. Dollar said the suspects posted a video of their activities on social media and should be easily identified.
The legion building and property, which includes a former golf course, was sold last month to a developer. Legion members had stopped meeting at the building “a while back” and were meeting on Ragland Street where other local veteran’s groups also hold gatherings, Dollar said. The meeting space was just that, however, and legion property had to be left in the building.
The legion has bought a property on Jenkins Street and had begun some renovations to move into a new permanent home, he said. The renovations will include fire alarms and a security system.
“We’ll be able to move in pretty soon, I hope,” Dollar said.