The Wolcott Senior Center that was going to be used as a cooling center amid hot temperatures and high humidity is closed today while police investigate vandalism there and two teens are accused of doing the damage.
Police said there was vandalism discovered at the center and there is an active investigation.
According to investigators, a group home called police to say they had two missing teens around 11 p.m. on Sunday. A few hours later, the fire department got a fire alarm alert for the senior center.
When crews arrived to the scene, they said there was no sign of fire, but the senior center was heavily vandalized.
Investigators said they believe the teens removed a screen and forced open a window on the northwest side of the building and then caused thousands of dollars of damage inside of the building.
Inside the senior center, there were chairs, tables and other items including a full coffee maker thrown on the ground in one room.
In what appears to be an office, there were dozens of books piled on the ground with a chair thrown on top of it.
A locked office was also ransacked and money was stolen, police said. A locked pantry was also broken into and food was destroyed from shelves and in the freezer, officers added.
“Just to clean up and have a company come in is going to cost a couple thousand, along with everything broken, the food that’s gone, the computers that are broken, the doors that are broken, it’s going to be thousands of dollars,” said Police Chief Ed Stephens.
While vandalizing the building, police said the two teens cooked a pizza and left the gas burners on.
The teens are also accused of taking a fire extinguisher and spraying it all over the card room, which set the fire alarm off, police said.
At some point after the vandalism happened, authorities said the teens fled and stole a vehicle from Badger Road.
As they were leaving, the teens struck two other vehicles and the owner of the stolen vehicle called police, authorities said.
Officers saw the stolen vehicle with two people inside parked in a parking lot on Nichols Road, police said.
When the two people inside of the vehicle saw the officer approaching, investigators said they drove the vehicle out of the parking lot and crashed into a telephone pole head-on.
Both of the teens were taken into custody and were charged with burglary, criminal mischief, larceny, criminal attempt at arson, larceny of a motor vehicle and numerous other motor vehicle charges, according to police.
A judge initially released the teens to their guardians. Later Monday Wolcott police said they had contacted both of the teens' probation officers and the State's Attorney's Office and that the teens were then ordered to detention.
No injuries were reported.
The senior center was going to be a cooling center during today's hot temperatures, but is now closed while police investigate.
At this point, the town is waiting for insurance adjusters to assess the damage, police said. It's unclear when the center may reopen.