Visalia Police Seek Mooney Grove Museum Vandals

News

A group of vandals broke into a popular Visalia museum and left behind thousands of dollars worth of damage.

The break-in happened at the Tulare County Museum in Visalia’s Mooney Grove Park Friday night.

The museum curator was notified of the break-in after alarms in several buildings went off.

Windows on several buildings and display cases were destroyed leaving priceless artifacts covered in glass.

“We were surprised, definitely disappointed and upset to find that much damage,” said Amy King, the museum curator.

She said the vandals broke into four buildings, busting windows and shattering display cases.

“The items that are in there are very delicate. We are going to have to go through and safely remove the items from the cases so that we can get the glass out.”

King is grateful priceless artifacts like their wooly mammoth tusk were not harmed.

Thankfully, she said, the main exhibits are protected behind metal gates and bars.

She said the damage is costly given the age of some of the buildings.

“Those are not standard size windows, they’re going to have to be specially made,” said King.

“We believe the damage at this point to be in excess of five thousand dollars, said Sgt. Damon Maurice with the Visalia Police Department.

He said nothing was stolen and the incident is being investigated by the department’s Property Crimes Unit.

“We don’t have many leads, we do have some surveillance video,” said Sgt. Maurice.

The museum’s cameras captured everything but Tulare County has not released the footage.

King said it looked like the vandals appeared to have no shame.

“It was four younger kids that came just smashing glass not looking to steal anything. just looking to ruin things,” she said

She said one of the kids covered his face but believes the others were exposed.

Although it was a negative experience, King said the community support has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ve had people reach out through social media calling the museum, wanting to send in money,” said King

People flocked to the historical society’s website to help a community staple.
 
The museum will remaining closed until the buildings are safe for guests.

“We’re hoping that we can open up quickly again have our community join us and keep on preserving history,” said King.
 
Anyone with information is asked to call Visalia police.

For more information on how you can help, visit http://www.tularecountyhistoricalsociety.org/events/

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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