Department of Public Works employees received an unwelcome surprise on Tuesday morning when they went to go to work, and it wasn’t snow.
Police are investigating vandalism at the Mount Vernon DPW garage after workers found that the city’s snowplows, salt, garbage and sewer trucks had been sabotaged overnight.
According to police, one or more suspects are believed to have entered the Canal Street garage between 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11 and 5 a.m. the following morning and stuffed latex gloves into the tanks of the municipal trucks.
Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas said the vandalism was first discovered at approximately 6 a.m. on Tuesday, when two trucks were suddenly disabled. The investigation by mechanics found that there were latex gloves stuffed in the gas tank. Further investigation determined that there were gloves in each of the trucks, causing a potential hazard.
In total, an estimated 30 trucks were vandalized.
Crews went to work quickly to repair the trucks before the heart of the storm struck the area. Several snowplows and salt trucks were able to be put back on the road at approximately 10 a.m. as the storm hit.
“We are shocked and saddened by the direct act of intimidation,” Thomas said in a statement. “We’re very aggravated by the constant harassment by groups of people that want to obstruct progress and the protection of the people of the city.”
Mount Vernon City Councilman Andre Wallace said that police will be working diligently to identify the suspect or suspects who were involved in stuffing the latex gloves into the trucks.
“I want to thank the crews risking their lives working Mount Vernon streets, clearing snow, and salting. It is hard work and we are grateful,” he said. “I also want to serve notice on those who sabotaged vehicles needed for snow removal. Law enforcement will be looking for you. I am asking our police to investigate these crimes, and to find those responsible. Never mind the nonsense conspiracy theories. This is crime plain and simple, and those responsible must be appropriately dealt with.”
The latest vandalism incident comes nearly a month after someone left a fake pipe bomb at City Hall, prompting an evacuation, and a suspicious fire was set in the Building Department.
“It’s a direct attack on the people of Mount Vernon,” Thomas added. “We are not going to be intimidated. We are going to catch whoever is responsible for this act of hate against the people of the city.”
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