Reward offered for information in alleged vandalism

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The caboose in Stuart is believed to have been vandalized in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 13. Authorities are encouraging anyone with information about the incident to call Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith at (276) 692-7012. (By Taylor Boyd)

By Debbie Hall

A reward is available for information that leads to the arrests of the person or persons responsible for vandalizing the caboose that is adjacent to the Mayo River Rail Trail in downtown Stuart.

Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith said vandals used white spray paint to write the letters “BLM,” “Equality,” the letter “E” and draw a heart on the caboose, according to Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Rorrer.

The incident is believed to have occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday, September 13, marking the second time that the caboose has been vandalized since it was placed near the trail.

Town officials were busy Monday trying to remove the paint.

Stuart Town Manager Terry Tilley (center), and other town employees worked Monday to remove letters from the caboose located in downtown Stuart, adjacent to the Mayo River Trail. A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.

They had been working to repaint the caboose after the initial red color faded and had repainted railings yellow and were in the process of painting the rest of the caboose. Town officials said they hoped a clear coat could be applied in the next few weeks, depending on the weather.

The town also is pursuing a historical designation for some buildings in downtown Stuart. The designation would make area more attractive to potential buyers by providing state and local tax incentives that may drive investment/restoration efforts, officials have said.

The historical designation is expected to be reviewed during the council’s Sept. 16 meeting.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call Smith confidentially at (276) 692-7012.