Rock throwing vandals struck twice in seven days at the American Clown Museum and School in Lake Placid, shattering window panes and damaging the aluminum window structures. No suspects have been identified, but police are investigating both incidents.
Al “Big Al” Pelski has been president of Toby’s Clown Alley and the American Clown Museum and School for 14 years. “I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said. “This was just malicious and mean-spirited.”
Pelski said the first attack came on the night of the Fourth of July when five glass panes in three windows were shattered with rocks. “We were surprised because nothing like this had ever happened to us before,” Pelskisi said. “We cleaned up the mess and got the nice folks from Lake Placid Glass & Mirror to come down and repair the windows. We thought that was the end of it.”
Then, just one week to the day later, vandals returned Friday night –– but this time they were armed with even bigger rocks. “They weren’t content to just break the glass this time,” Pelski said. “They went after the aluminum structure part of the window frame. They busted up three windows pretty good.”
It appears the rocks used to break the windows came from the landscape at DeVane Park, located just across the street. Pelski said he found places on the sidewalk where large pieces of coral rock were broken into smaller “easier to throw” pieces.
Pelski said the repair won’t be as simple as replacing glass. “No, sir, this time it’s going to be expensive,” he said. “When it was just broken glass we were out about $80 or $90. This time we have to have entire new windows.”
As a temporary measure, outdoor siding has been installed over the three broken windows. The siding is likely to stay in place until school resumes in the fall. “I’m not saying I know for sure that kids did this damage,” Pelski said, “but it sure seems that way. When school starts again the young people will have more to do and, hopefully, won’t be out at night as much.”
But Pelski said he doesn’t have hard feelings about the incident if it was caused by bored, unsupervised children. “I can’t blame the kids,” he said.”I blame parents who didn’t know where their kids were and what they were up to.”
In the meantime, the clown leader said, the American Clown Museum and School has swept up the broken glass and resumed it’s regular schedule of noon to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
And, Pelski said, the museum will be open and clowns will greet visitors during the July 25-26-27 Caladium Festival in Lake Placid. “We’re always ready to spread smiles and laughter,” he said.