Authorities are hunting for clues and Smith Rock BMX track operators, kids and families are upset about the latest costly vandalism to hit the Redmond track, just two weeks before a special season-opening race.
Deschutes County sheriff?s deputies responded on Monday to a reported theft at the facility, located at 1610 NE Negus Way, said sheriff?s Sgt. Bryan Husband.
Five of the eight newly installed, diamond-plated aluminum starting gates were stolen some time between 4 p.m. Sunday and 6 p.m. Monday, Husband said.
Each starting gate has a black stripe of non-ski grip tape down the middle and orange overspray paint on the edges, the sergeant said.
The non-profit organization, with a limited budget, recently had raised $1,000 to buy and install the new starting gates for the season due to start in two weeks. Without them, track operator Brian Phillips said they may not be able to hold official races.
The five stolen gates are estimated to have cost about $625, and there also was damage of an undetermined dollar amount (though less than $500) due to the theft, Husband said.
On June 9, the track has planned a special ?Race for Life? to raise money for the national Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. One of the racers has been diagnosed with leukemia, so the race was to be accompanied by raffles and other fund-raising efforts.
Repeated vandalism has been a problem at the facility, located on land leased from the Redmond Area Park and Rec District.
Bill Wild, track vice president, said they have had five instances of vandalism or theft in the past year alone, each costing hundreds to thousands of dollars damage.
Anyone with information about the latest theft is urged to contact the sheriff?s office at (541) 388-6655 or by the sheriff?s Website at sheriff.deschutes.org. You can also use the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS, or the Crime Stopper?s page at KTVZ.COM. You can remain anonymous, and could be eligible for a cash reward.
Meanwhile, word comes on the Smith Rock BMX Facebook page (their Website is down for redesign) of a donation account set up in the park's name at Bank of the Cascades.