An electronic scoreboard on the Patterson Mill High School football field was heavily damaged in the early hours of Saturday morning by vandals who commandeered a nearby forklift to cause an estimated $10,000 in damages.
According to Harford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Monica Worrell, a digital display below the football field’s main scoreboard was smashed with a telescoping forklift which was on school grounds to assist in the construction of solar panels.
The damage occurred between 1:23 a.m. and 2 a.m. early Saturday morning, Worrell said, and was reported at approximately 7:30 a.m. by a contractor arriving to continue work on the panels. Worrell said that 200 feet of chain link fence, a parking lot light pole, and the scoreboard were damaged, at an estimated cost of $10,000.
Three male suspects between the ages of 13 and 20 were captured on video carrying out the crime, and are currently being sought, Worrell said.
Viewing the scene Saturday morning, it appeared that the suspects gained access to the machine, drove it through part of the fence containing it, and began maneuvering it toward the football field, knocking over a parking lot light post along the way.
The driver smashed through part of the football field fence, rammed the scoreboard with the forklift’s forks, and then drove through a third section of fence to leave the field.
The Galaxy Pro digital display panel cost about $45,000 and was originally purchased by the Patterson Mill Athletic Boosters and later gifted to the school, according to Rob Keesling, president of the school’s booster club.
Located beneath the main scoreboard, Keesling said that the digital display rests about 12 feet off of the ground. After observing the damage to the display panel and surrounding fencing, he said, “It’s pretty clear that a piece of heavy equipment crashed through the gate and rammed the Galaxy Pro. You could speculate that it was some sort of a fork lift because you can see a wooden pallet that you would use to transport cargo was impaled into the Galaxy Pro.”
He said it looked as though the driver exited the scoreboard area by crashing through the fence.
The forklift was back near its original location as of late Saturday morning, but it was not clear whether the suspects had left it elsewhere and it had been returned by an authorized operator.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Harford County Sheriff’s Office’s Southern Precinct at 410-612-1717.