Vandals destroy equipment at Tulalip gravel pit
August 28, 2008 · Updated 9:39 AM
TULALIP Vandals dont take holidays, according to Mark Jenkins.
Sometime in the night of Thanksgiving Day, several persons broke into the Simpson Gravel Pit and used heavy construction equipment to damage several vehicles and structures, he said.
A large construction backhoe was started and moved several yards, where the large hydraulic-powered boom was used to destroy a small boat and the shed that housed it, and to damage a used school bus that was being converted into a mobile home, according to Jenkins, an employee of the gravel pit and owner of the bus.
Vandals tore around the developed area of the 30-acre site, and also managed to start a flat bed truck. Jenkins said it was obvious several persons were joyriding around the pit in the pitch-black night, and the flatbed truck was left hanging precariously off the edge of a hillside after it was stranded there.
Jenkins said it was lucky nobody was hurt; he assumed teenagers were to blame and pointed to the cup of the backhoe, which was resting just inches from a large propane tank near the bottom of the school bus.
Theyre lucky they didnt blow themselves up, Jenkins said.
He bought the school bus and was working with his son to convert it to a motor home; he had already affixed real brick tiles around the cab and had laid out the frame for a bathroom; the vandals destroyed the new ceramic toilet too, he said disgustedly.
Look at that, brand new and now its finished, Jenkins said.
Tire tracks showed somebody was at work or play early that night, and the contents of the flatbeds cab were strewn over the floor of the pit. Jenkins noted several tuffs of grass in the sand, noting there is no vegetation in the pit at all. Many other items and equipment were left untouched, he noted.
A Snohomish County Sheriffs deputy came and took a report but couldnt promise much help, Jenkins said, adding that he could see footprints and tire tracks that did not belong to any employee that worked at the pit on Fire Trail Road.
The backhoe did not have any apparent damage it was huge but it clearly had been used to destroy a small carport sheltering a 16-foot boat. The bow of the open craft had been torn off and was resting near another damaged small pickup truck five yards away. The school bus had been pushed at least three feet and the shell or body was twisted and warped to the side. Inside were the materials Jenkins was using to convert the bus into a traveling home. Now he said he would have to call his son in Oregon and tell him their plans were finished.
That really hurts, Jenkins said.
The pit at the top of the hill is just off of Fire Trail Road and is locked each night with a chain. One of the owners had locked up at 10:30 that night and Jenkins showed up for work at 6 a.m. Friday morning to find the damage. He said some residents of the pricier homes built nearby have complained about the traffic of heavy trucks coming from the pit, and he hoped that vandalism wasnt anybodys idea of payback.