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071018-nws-sleepy-hollow-vandalism

On July 9, Susan Lundberg, executive director of the Sleepy Hollow Theatre and Arts Park, shows where much of the vandalism occurred in the backstage on July 8. Aside from the gold spray paint defacing the walls, mirrors and props, much of which was cleaned earlier in the day, the vandals also broke a row of stage makeup light bulbs, shattering glass over the table and floor. 

Three juveniles have been cited in connection to vandalism at Sleepy Hollow Theatre and Arts Park.

The juveniles — ages 13, 15 and 17 — have each been cited for burglary and criminal mischief, according to Bismarck police.

The vandalism occurred the afternoon of July 8, causing the cancellation of that night's performance of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." Backstage, vandals smashed light bulbs, spray painted costumes, wigs and mirrors, and broke a window in the theater's hospitality suite.

Sleepy Hollow posted Snapchat video segments of the vandals' acts on the theater's Facebook page. The videos showed one young man breaking a window, another attempting to tip over a portable toilet and another person spraying gold paint on a wig stand.

The Snapchat videos were "instrumental" in identifying the suspects, according to Bismarck Police Officer Pat Renz.

On social media, there was an outpouring of community support for Sleepy Hollow after the vandalism. Some started fundraisers for the theater. Trollwood Performing Arts School students in Moorhead offered words of support to Sleepy Hollow in an online video.

"People have been very kind," said Susan Lundberg, the program's executive director. "Everyone we’ve talked to said that’s just not right; that shouldn’t have happened."

Lundberg said she's unsure how much funding has been raised. One Facebook fundraiser collected more than $3,500. In total, Lundberg said the theater lost an estimated $4,000 due to the show's cancellation that night, including loss of ticket sales, employee time and damaged property.

Still, Lunberg said she and theater employees press on and are "being positive going forward." 

"We’d like (the juveniles) for community service," Lundberg said. "And actually we would like them in our program. They need to be constructively occupied and doing better things than they’re doing."

Sleepy Hollow's production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" starts Thursday and goes through July 28. Tickets are available online.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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