Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say they’ve charged an eastern Ontario man with mischief after he was allegedly witnessed doing “intentional burnouts” with his truck on a newly painted Pride crosswalk in Prescott, Ont., on June 17.
The truck’s tires left black marks on the rainbow crossing on King Street, near Russell Street, and destroyed some of the colour, OPP in Grenville County said in a statement on Tuesday.
The crosswalk, just up from the St. Lawrence River, had been completed the week prior, according to posts on social media by the town and Mayor Brett Todd.
There was an “outcry” from the community after the incident, according to OPP Const. Ann Collins, community safety officer for North Grenville’s detachment.
“I think a lot of people found it upsetting,” Collins said on Wednesday, adding that police are pleased to get some “closure” in this case.
The mayor said he too was upset when he heard the news of the vandalism. Although Todd said it was “entirely unexpected,” he still felt disappointed.
The town has ordered more paint to restore the crosswalk, which is planned for the coming weeks, he said.
“We’re not going to give in on this. We made the decision as a community, as a council fully united to put the crosswalk down,” Todd told Global News. “We’re not going to let the haters and the bigots win here. Not a chance.”
When the crosswalk was first installed, Todd said he received many messages and phone calls from people thanking him for making Prescott feel like a home to them.
“They feel accepted in their home community again. That, to me, has made this so rewarding and it’s underlined the fact that we really needed to do this,” he said.
After a month-long investigation, OPP said they’ve charged 44-year-old Robert Sugrue of Cardinal, Ont., with mischief — specifically, destroying or damaging property.
Sugrue has been released and is scheduled to appear in court in Brockville on August 16, according to provincial police.
OPP urge anyone with any information about this incident to call the Grenville County detachment at 613-258-3441 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
-With files from Alexandra Mazur