Town and school officials are assessing the damage and repairs that will be needed at the Scarborough High School sports fields. Officials said the entire field may need to be re-leveled and in some places, seams (inset) in the Field Turf had been pulled apart. EVELYN WAUGH/Scarborough Leader

SCARBOROUGH — Scarborough Police are looking for an unknown suspect, who drove a motor vehicle onto the Clifford C. Mitchell Sports Complex field at Scarborough High School early July 2.

The athletic field is used for many sports, football, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, as well as for summer camps and recreation by the public.

According to Scarborough Community Services, the field was reserved 426 times in the past year for a total of 1,130 hours of usage. Now, it’s torn up and unsafe for use.

“The whole area’s locked,” said Todd Souza of Scarborough Community Services. “We’ve had to move a lot of camps around. Community members who use the field to jog aren’t able to.”

“It’s displaced a lot of high school activities, training, and programs,” Parks and Recreation Manager William Reichl said. “We aren’t allowing anyone on the turf until it’s safe, so that no one rolls an ankle. We have track practice out there, and they’ve had to work around that. It’s a little challenging.”

When police responded to a report of vandalism at 6 a.m. on July 2, they found that the field and surrounding grass had been “significantly damaged,” according to a news release posted to the police Facebook page. The release states that surveillance footage shows what appears to be a truck driving recklessly and “with clear intention to inflict damage” at 4:30 a.m.

Advertisement

The Scarborough High School turf field has been closed for safety reasons following the July 2 vandalism that damaged the field and surrounding areas of the complex. EVELYN WAUGH/Scarborough Leader

“We have some leads that we’re working on,” Det. Garrett Strout of the Scarborough Detectives Division said on Monday, July 8. “We have to use caution with what we release at this point.”

Information in the news release reveals “physical evidence” was recovered from the scene and leads were being pursued. A vehicle of interest was impounded, “believed to contain evidentiary value,” the report read.

Souza said that the vehicle came through an unlocked gate onto the turf. The artificial turf is strewn with black, circular skid-marks, evidence of the driver’s vehicle spinning around, doing doughnuts.

The turf was installed 13 years ago and was damaged by the vehicle.

“A lot of our soccer lines and field hockey lines that were glued in were peeled up when the person was driving on it,” Reichl described the damage. “A lot of the rubber and infield mix was displaced and is now uneven. Some areas are burnt out, and some of the seams have been pulled apart, too. The damage is all over the whole field.”

Souza explained that the entire field may have to be re-leveled.

Advertisement

“When you drive on the turf and turn quickly, it pushes the compacted turf into one area. It’s like driving in the sand and turning hard: you push all the sand to one area.”

Reichl said he “couldn’t throw a dart” at how much it will cost to repair the field before receiving estimates from repair companies. “It’ll have to be re-cut, re-glued, re-leveled, and then cleaned,” he said.

“We’re waiting for an insurance adjuster and turf repair company to determine the cost of repair,” Souza said. “It could add up.”

The town is seeking estimates from various companies: Turf Prep in Massachusetts, New England Turf in Saco, and Sports Turf of Bath, who originally installed the turf. Souza described turf installation and repair as “specialized.”

“It’s just disappointing that someone in our society would do this. You wouldn’t think anyone would want to do that,” Reichl said.

“We don’t know why they did it. But it’s very unfortunate, and we’re eager to put some closure to it,” Strout said.

Scarborough Police ask that those with information contact the Scarborough Police Department at 883-6361 or anonymously at 730-GET’M (4386).

Evelyn Waugh can be reached [email protected].

Comments are not available on this story.