The Barton County Road and Bridge Department wasn’t feeling the love Valentines Day after employees discovered several pieces of their equipment vandalized at a remote job site south of Ellinwood Thursday morning.
Barton County Road and Bridge Department Road Foreman Mike Patton said windows were smashed out of two road graders, a power broom and backhoe, all parked just off the road at the location on SE 40 Road between SE 140 and 150 Avenues. Four fire extinguishers with “Property of Barton County” stamped on them were also stolen.
He estimates the cost of the damage to be between $10,000-15,000.
According to the Barton County Sheriff’s Office, the vandals used a “blunt object” to damage the machinery some time between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday.
Patton said his crew was at the location doing shoulder work on the county blacktop. The project had started Wednesday and was scheduled to take about two weeks.
However, “this might set us back two weeks,” he said of the delay caused by the damaged equipment. The window glass for the machinery has to be specially cut, therefor it takes a while to get it replaced.
Authorities said the investigation is continuing.
A similar incident, although not as extensive, took place last October, Patton said.