BRISTOL, Va. - An agency dedicated to helping children who've been abused has been the target of a vandal.
Police say someone took donated statues and lawn ornaments from the Bristol-Washington County Child's Advocacy Center.
The beautiful old home next to Bristol, Virginia's Sugar Hollow Park is meant to look like an inviting place to visit. In reality, it's a Children's Advocacy Center meant to help abuse victims. "It's a facility for kids who have experienced abuse to have one place to come to. [We do] all of the things that are involved in investigating, treatment and prosecution of child abuse," Director Kathi Roark of the Bristol, Virginia-Washington County center says.
It's meant to be inviting to children rather than a scary place like a courtroom or police station. Surrounding the center are beautiful gardens that have all been tended to by willing volunteers. "Not only do we have willing volunteers, we have willing volunteers who are coming with a really high level of gardening skills. They have created the beautiful landscaping around the building," she said.
Through the years they have added concrete lawn ornaments and fountains, but now they're all gone. A broken Saint Francis is all that is left. "We found [St. Francis] broken at the top of the stairs, top of the steps at the parking lot. Then on further examination we saw that almost all of the other pieces, with the exception of one piece that was too heavy to move, everything else had disappeared," Roark said.
Both the Bristol, Virginia Police Department and Washington County Sheriff's Office are investigating this senseless act. "All of these things have been gifts to us from people who wanted to do something to make the experience of children who've been hurt a little less hurtful," she added.
As the day ended and the center went to throw out their trash, they found all of their pieces in the trash. All but two pieces were broken.
If you have any information on this crime please contact your police department.