Manitoba

'A bad person did a bad thing': Mom explains to kids after vandals hit play structure for 3rd time

Megan Wegert was at a loss for words on Monday morning when her kids woke up to discover someone had set fire to the play structure at École Robert Browning elementary school overnight.

Students at École Robert Browning elementary school in Westwood lose slide, ladders

Red tape wraps around the play structure at École Robert Browning. (Brett Purdy)

Megan Wegert was at a loss for words on Monday morning when her kids woke up to discover someone had set fire to the play structure at École Robert Browning elementary school overnight.

Red tape is wrapped around the structure today, and it's off limits to the children. The blue spiral slide is almost completely melted away. 

Wegert said her kids love climbing on the twisting ladder and playing on the spiral slides near their house. She said they were so upset about the damage, they were crying.

"A bad person did a bad thing. There's not much you can say," said Wegert, saying it's tough to explain the vandalism to her sons in Grade 3 and Grade 5.

The city confirms they got a call about 'a small fire on a play structure' at 1:31 am Monday. A spokesperson said police crews did not respond. 

Third time vandals hit 

Wegert said it's not the first time vandals have struck at the play structure in Winnipeg's Westwood area.

In May 2015, a second slide on the main play structure was torched, and that was followed by a garbage bin right next to it that was set ablaze in June 2015 

The community rallied together last year to raise over $10,000 to replace the second slide. 

Wegert is worried it will take more this time around.

"Last time it was just the slide that had been damaged and this time it goes all the way onto the structure. I don't know if it's going to be salvageable. I have no idea," said Wegert.

Wegert said as the structure stands now it isn't safe for kids to be on or around. She is also upset that depending on how long it takes to fix it, her older son and his classmates might have to go their last year without having their slides to play on.  Wegert is hoping neighbours will keep an extra eye out and call the police if they see anything suspicious.

"I guess you just hope that the neighbourhood will continue to watch and continue to call the police when they see things happen. Hopefully somebody will come forward with some information. That would be my greatest hope, that somebody would come forward with some information and maybe we could catch them," said Wegert.

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