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Teenage boys filmed themselves damaging Main Beach bathrooms, park district says

Social media video posts of the spree were sent to police

Two teenagers allegedly filmed themselves damaging the Crystal Lake Main Beach bathroom on May 17, 2022, park district officials said. The video, posted on social media, was forwarded to police.

Two teenagers allegedly recorded video of themselves vandalizing the Crystal Lake Main Beach bathroom in May, then posted the video to social media, the Crystal Lake Park District police chief said.

The boys, ages 13 and 14, were charged with criminal damage to property in connection with May 17 damage to the bathroom at Main Beach, Crystal Lake Park District Police Chief John Longo said. It was the third time the bathrooms there had been damaged since April.

Following damage to the bathrooms in February, cameras were placed on the outside building, pointed at the entrances, however it was the boys’ own video that gave them away, park district marketing manager Jenny Leech said.

“They filmed the act in progress,” Leech said Friday. “They filmed themselves doing the damage.”

The park district’s security video from the May 17 incident was too grainy to make out details or faces, Leech said.

An anonymous person forwarded an online video to the department and it matched the security video, Longo said.

It was the second incident of vandalism to the bathrooms in two days, according to a May 18 post on the Crystal Lake Main Beach Facebook page.

Other property at different district parks and facilities have also been damaged but not all led to investigations, Longo said.

In the latest case, in which the two teenagers are charged, ceiling tiles and an exit sign were pulled down. Damage was estimated at $690, Longo said.

Two teenagers allegedly filmed themselves damaging the Crystal Lake Main Beach bathroom on May 17, 2022, park district officials said. The video, posted on social media, was forwarded to police.

As a result of the May 17 incident, the bathrooms were shut down until staff were on site for the season.

“Parents were already going there with the kids and were not able to use the facilities because of these two,” Longo said.

His officers stepped up patrols of the park and beaches following the previous reports. Officers found the last two incidents before the public did, he added.

“We do want to stay on top of this” to prevent future damage, Longo said. “The summer does lend itself to more juvenile incidents over there” as groups get into conflicts, he said. Parents and other community members are also very good about reporting problems when they see them, he said.

Both Leech and Longo said damage to the parks tends to be sporadic and is not necessarily a sign of more issues.

“It is not always with intent. Sometimes it is a picnic table or playground pieces” that are accidentally damaged, Leech said.

They are fortunate to have a dedicated police force, she said.

“The patrols they are able to do keeps vandalism down for sure. It helps the feeling of safety residents have when they visit our parks,” she said.

The park district police department was assisted in its investigation by the Crystal Lake Police Department, Lake in the Hills Police Department, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and McHenry County College campus police, Longo said.