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Multiple boats are damaged, vandalized at Lake Bloomington

Breann Neal
One of the boats damaged overnight June 28 at Lake Bloomington.

McLean County sheriff's deputies are investigating boat vandalism on Lake Bloomington, where Sheriff Matt Lane says a group of people stole keys, took two boats out on the lake, and hit the seawall overnight on June 28.

Breann Neal and her spouse, Tom, own one of those. She said it's likely totaled.

“There was video from the water treatment plant of our boat being crashed into the concrete seawall multiple times," she said. "The pontoons are all crushed in. The deck of the boat is buckled and cracked. Almost every panel on the boat is damaged in some way. The motor and prop sustained damage. Our friend's boat was actually driven up onto the shore and crashed into a tree.”

 Propeller damage to one of the vandalized boats at Lake Bloomington
Breann Neal
Breann Neal
Propeller damage to one of the vandalized boats at Lake Bloomington

Lane said vandals rummaged through six other boats, sprayed a fire extinguisher and did other minor damage to those watercrafts. Two of the boats had speakers ripped out, seats and cushions torn away, and the bumpers have disappeared.

“It didn't feel like mischief. It felt like malice. It was just damaged for the sake of damage,” said Neal.

The Mucky Duck marina and another lake resident have offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to arrests in the case.

“Footage from the water treatment plant captured a car driving into the Marina park with their lights out about midnight, leaving the park later, and then about 3:30 a.m. going into the spillway park. I'm assuming that was (where) they were going to pick up their friends who had crashed the boats over there,” said Neal.

The marina also is taking countermeasures.

“They put in motion sensor lights and more cameras, but I know they're stepping up the security because this really rattled everybody,” said Neal, noting her boat is insured up to $40,000. But she’s not sure that’s enough to cover the loss.

“We bought it in 2018 brand new. You know, prices are not going down. We'll be lucky if if our insurance gets us back to where we were with our boat,” said Neal. “That was our main form of recreation. Every weekend we go out and float on the lake. That's how we relax. We don't go on big vacations. We spend our weekends on the boat.”

Anyone with information is asked contact detectives at the sheriff’s department at (309) 888-5049.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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