Kenai library vandalism costs thousands in damage

KENAI — Authorities are investigating after a vandal caused thousands of dollars in damage at a Kenai library, leaving staff unsure whether they’ll be able to fund the replacement of the destroyed items.

Kenai Community Library Director Mary Jo Joiner said staff discovered several chairs and a stool covered with a paint-like substance. A couch slashed with what they suspect was a knife was also found as well as a toilet that had been purposely clogged and computer cords that were cut.

The library is funded by the city of Kenai, Joiner said, so it will be up to city officials to decide whether to include money in their budget to fund the repairs or replacement of the furniture.

“That would be a call that the city would make … and it sort of depends on what those dollars amounts are,” Joiner said.

She estimated the costs to be at least $5,000, but “I’m guessing it’s going to be closer to $10,000 or so,” she said.

Sgt. Ben Langham said police are seeking any leads that will help find a suspect.

“The officer began an investigation, documented the scene … and that’s where we’re at right now,” Langham said.

While library staff was discouraged by the incident, Joiner said they were grateful that things weren’t worse. The presence of staff that roams the library periodically will increase, she said.

“We’re open a lot of hours for the convenience of the public and it’s kind of we’re here to help people and give them stuff and it’s really sad that, you know, we tried to give them a really nice place to hang out,” she said.

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