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Reward offered for information on vandalism of Senior Center van


Elizabeth Medora

NEW RIVER – Two New River Senior Center vans were vandalized in December, and one van was seriously damaged. A reward is being offered for information leading to the vandal(s)’ arrest.

Senior Center Director Barb Terwilliger has put out an offer of a $300 cash reward to help catch these vandals. The damage is believed to have been done sometime between Dec. 24 and Dec. 26, at the same time the other Senior Center van was also vandalized. That vandalism was clearly visible and quickly discovered.

“Someone broke off one of the van’s gas cap,” said Terwilliger, referring to the second van.

The first van, the one connected to the reward, is more seriously damaged. Someone cut the gas line, jammed a hose in it, and tied the hose to the muffler. The extent of the damage isn’t yet known. The van had only a quarter of a tank of gas at the time of the destruction, and the damage wasn’t discovered until Dec. 30, when a driver tried to fill the gas tank, only to see gasoline pouring out of the cut gas line.

The repair costs are still being tallied, as the van is in the process of being repaired. One of the vans was vandalized  earlier in 2015, and that cost the New River Senior Center $600 in repairs.

Police reports for the damage have been filed. Terwilliger hopes someone in the community will come forward – anonymously, if they prefer – and share information to help stop these vandals. Anyone who knows anything about the crimes is asked to call the Senior Center at (623) 465-0367 or the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Crime Stop line at (602) 876-1011. Terwilliger said that if someone puts forth a tip that pans out, she’ll make sure they get the cash reward.

Hurting the New River Senior Center hurts the surrounding communities, too. Repairing this vandalism is using Senior Center funds that could be spent elsewhere providing resources for local seniors.

“We’re a 501(c)3,” Terwilliger said. “We haven’t had a budget increase in years. Every penny that I have to put out for this affects our budget.”

Through the work of the Senior Center, local residents can participate in a variety of activities. The Senior Center vans provide transportation for seniors who need help getting to medical appointments, group trips for events, and meal service for homebound seniors. With one of the vans now out of commission, the Senior Center’s community work is more difficult.

Terwilliger is incredibly frustrated at the ongoing vandalism and questions why “somebody feels they need to do damage.”

Whatever the reason of the vandals, the damage they caused  hurts the whole community.

If you have any information on the vandalism, you can call Barb Terwilliger at (623) 465-0367 or (623) 465-5695, or, you can call MCSO at (602) 876-1011. Any tips would be helpful.

If you would like to help out the New River Senior Center as they deal with the financial burden of the vandalism, call Barb Terwilliger at (623) 465-0367.

See more about the work of the New River Senior Center at