GREAT KILLS — Vandals removed and burned a section of fencing recently installed to help protect Staten Island residents from flood damage.
Vandals tore down between 50 to 70 feet of fencing on Crescent Beach and burned it Monday night, according to the Parks Department.
A circle of rocks with pieces of the fence inside and empty cases of beer were still on the beach near Wiman Avenue and Tennyson Drive on Wednesday morning as Parks officers investigated the area.
Planting on the dunes also was damaged by the fires, the Parks Department said.
"The Parks Department is very disappointed at the lack of respect some people have had for their neighbors, neighbors who have been working hard to rebuild their homes and communities after Hurricane Sandy," Adena Long, Staten Island borough commissioner for Parks, said in a statement.
"We have documented all the damage to these dunes and to our fences, have increased our Parks Enforcement patrols in the area, and would like to remind these vandals that damaging public property is a very serious offense and comes with hefty fines."
Last week, residents reported that ATV riders tore up the dunes and plantings by riding on them. The dunes, put in after Hurricane Sandy to protect the area from future floods, included special grass to help increase their size and keep them in place.
"This is our lifeline here," said Connie Cerrachio, who lives across from the dunes and first told city officials about the vandals. "They're just not thinking."
After the initial damage, the Parks Department installed fencing to keep riders off and hung signs warning that it's illegal for vehicles to drive on them. Anyone caught damaging the property could face a fine of as much as $2,000, according to the Parks Department.
The Parks Department said officials are working with the NYPD to catch the vandals.