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Summer vandals target Beltrone

Residents of the Beltrone Senior Living Center in Colonie said they are concerned about the level of vandalism in the area, and they are asking police officers to do scheduled drive-bys during the day and night.

On Thursday, Aug. 12, vandals allegedly took nearly 200 tomatoes from the gardens on the edge of The Crossings park and behind the living center. The group then began to throw the fruit at parked cars and at the garages in the parking area.

Colonie police said they have been contacted about similar incidents on several occasions, prompting them to start doing more patrols in the area.

It's normal summertime behavior of kids, said Deputy Chief John Van Alstyne. "You've got kids riding around on bicycles and skateboards, and they tend to get a little rambunctious."

Van Alstyne said he has seen kids riding around Beltrone and has made contact with a few of them. Because the kids are not doing anything criminal or mischievous, he said, officers simply take their names and send them on their way.

Associate Property Manager for the Beltrone Senior Living Center Debbie McClune said she is also worried about the safety of the kids. She fears a car may hit them if one of the seniors doesn't notice them.

"There's seniors here driving their cars, they could be turning a corner and not see them and end up hitting them," she said.

The damage to the garden hit close to home for some of the residents, said McClune, adding that they were "very proud" of the plot of land that they helped tend to.

McClune attributed the vandalism to summer boredom.

"There are kids here all the time," said a Beltrone resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concerns that she could become a target. "They've been throwing stones at windows and ripping off shingles. This is just totally ridiculous, and it has gotten out of hand."

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