LAKE PLACID — A citizen has offered to add $1,000 to the reward amount for information leading to the arrest of those who broke about a dozen windows at Toby’s Clowns Museum and School, said Lake Placid Police Chief James Fansler.
Someone threw fist-sized rocks and busted the windows on the Interlake Boulevard building, in downtown Lake Placid, two Fridays in a row, also damaging the window frames, said museum and school president Al Pelski.
The police department is also offering a $250 reward, Fansler said.
“We hope the increased reward will get someone talking about the vandalism at the clown college and help us arrest someone for this despicable act to an organization that only helps others in the community,” he added.
Pelski said the windows were first broken the night of July 4 and then again July 11 after they were repaired. He estimates it will cost $2,000 to fix the damage and said they were considering a fundraiser to defray the cost.
In the meanwhile, the windows remain boarded up even though the museum is open for business.
The gift shop and museum’s usual hours are from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
To contact Lake Placid police, call 863-699-3757. They also accept anonymous information at email@example.com or they can be messaged through Facebook.
Meanwhile, Lake Placid resident Nancy Sanders has issued a public challenge to the community with her personal pledge of $500 toward the cost of replacing the windows and installing security cameras, which Pelski hopes to do to deter more mischief.
“What a shame. I cannot even imagine how devastated the clowns must be at what will be such a financial hit to their already tight operating budget,” she said. “The timing could not have been worse for the school, with the Caladium Festival right around the corner.”
Although not a clown herself, Sanders is a volunteer grant writer and fund-raiser for the clown school.
“As a volunteer for the group I see how much good they do in the community and I am hoping others recognize that as well,” Sanders said.
She hopes local residents and businesses will contribute to the clown school, in whatever amounts they can, to help pay for the necessary repairs and install cameras.
Checks can be mailed to Toby’s Clown Foundation, P.O. Box 2417, Lake Placid, FL 33862.