LAKE PLACID— First, vandals broke windows at Toby’s Clowns Museum and School on the night of July 4.
They were repaired and replaced, and school and museum president Al Pelski thought that was the end of it.
Imagine his shock when a week later, the night of July 11, mischief makers threw what Pelski called fist-sized rocks, smashing not just the windows but ruining the window frames.
Now, the dozen or so window spaces remain boarded up but the clown school and museum, 109 West Interlake Blvd., remains open for business.
Pelski said they’d have to keep the windows boarded up for a while. It’ll cost them about $2,000, he estimates, to get them all fixed and who knows if the miscreants will be back, he rued.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said of the incidents. “It makes me feel bad. We do so much for the kids in the county. “
Pelski thinks it may be a group of kids and/or perhaps people who don’t like clowns.
Meanwhile, the Lake Placid Police Department is viewing video from the DeVane Park gazebo surveillance cameras.
“We have added an extra patrol officer over the weekends to step up coverage,” said police chief James Fansler. “In addition, our investigator deployed a special mobile video surveillance system to capture any further activity at the Clown College. We typically deploy the mobile recording devices in areas where crime begins to peak. In the event an arrest is made, a (media) release will be made.”
Pelski said whatever money they raise is given back in the community and thinks they may need to hold a fundraiser to raise the money to replace the windows and the frames.
The clown museum has property insurance but their deductible is $5,000, so any money to fix the windows would probably come out of their pockets, Pelski said.
What they may also do is install security cameras so if vandals return, they will be spotted on surveillance videos.
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.
Pelski is encouraging anybody who has any information to contact the Lake Placid Police Department.
“Clowns spread smiles love and laughter to the community so if anyone knows anything that can help find the vandals please contact the Lake Placid department,” said his wife, Sandy, in an email.
The police are offering a reward for information leading to an arrest, Fansler said. To contact them, call 863-699-3757. They also accept anonymous information at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can be messaged through Facebook