Vandals rip up flowers along Acorn Alley

Ben Wolford

Security cameras catch suspect’s face

Ron Burbick (left) said vandals tore up flowers in Acorn Alley early Thursday morning. He replaced them in time for new students to see the row of storefronts he financed as part of the Phoenix Project. Steve Bushong | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Two vandals uprooted flowers along Acorn Alley near East Main Street and scattered them under a security camera after midnight Thursday morning.

“We planted these planters last night,” said Ron Burbick, who financed and planned the soon-to-be-opened storefronts downtown. “They came down and yanked them out and carried them down the alley.”

He said the vandals carried them as far as one of the 14 security cameras near the property. When one suspect saw the camera mounted on a telephone pole, the person threw the flowers at it, missed and they left.

Police will release a photo of the suspects Friday morning.

By 1 p.m. Thursday, the flower pots were filled with new flowers and workers rushed up and down the brick-floored alley, preparing for the grand opening Saturday. Three or four stores open today in time for freshmen moving in, Burbick said.

In the face of more than $6 million Burbick staked for the shops and restaurants in Acorn Alley, last night’s petal pulling doesn’t amount to much, he said.

“It’s not a big deal pulling the flowers out,” Burbick said. “But people have to be aware of the cameras. We want to prevent bigger problems.”

Bigger problems have happened in the past. In the middle of construction six months ago, someone smashed windows that had just been installed the day before.

“Normally when we experience problems, they’re coming back from the bars,” Burbick said.

Police filed a report and will begin investigations Friday, a dispatcher said.

“Anybody we catch for anything, we’re going to prosecute civilly and legally,” Burbick said.

Contact public affairs reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].