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WPD asks for help identifying Cowtown museum vandals

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 11:38 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Wichita Police Department asks for the public’s help in identifying several people it says were involved in a case of vandalism last week at the Old Cowtown Museum.

At about midnight last Friday, April 16, police said surveillance video captured several individuals inside the museum, causing damage to windows and buildings.

“They are also believed to be responsible for damages that occurred at Botanica on the same night” police say.

Anyone with information about the case or anyone who may have been involved should contact Detective Meier at 316-268-4254 or dmeier@wichita.gov.

A sorghum boiler is among the most vandalized artifacts. Windows were shattered, a lock was broken and a fire extinguisher emptied inside of the museum.

Cowtown Museum Director Jacky Goerzen said it’s believed that the vandals were teenagers. She said they can’t estimate how much repairs will cost because much of what was damaged is priceless.

“I mean, we will have to find something comparable or fix it if it is possible,” she said. “It remains to be seen what exactly we are going to be able to do.”

The same night, glass doors to the carousel at Botanica were broken. Goerzen said Cowtown works with Botanica and figured that the vandals likely parked between the two museums.

Botanica Director Marty Miller said the carousel itself is a legacy because it came from the old Joyland Amusement Park.

“Fortunately, this was all the damage that was done,” he said of the broken glass. “This could have been a very serious situation. We could have had hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. We are not letting this little incident overshadow the happiness and the good times people have here at Botanica.”

Goerzen agreed that the vandalism won’t bring down Cowtown, but she warned that at some point, they have to put their antiques first to protect them.

“It’s like, ‘well, what do we do to protect these artifacts,?’ she said. “These are priceless. We want to be able to be open to the community and let the community come in and see the history and experience the history. But we continue to have people disrespect the museum like this. Were does that leave us?”

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