Business Owner Says Spring Breakers’ Destructive Behavior ‘Getting Old’

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – South Padre Island police have beefed up their numbers to help control the crowds and keep vacationers safe.

Still, some destructive spring breakers are having their way.

Smashed city sandcastles, graffiti on an iconic welcome sign and now, a business's front door shattered into thousands of pieces. Those are a few of the damages that spring breakers have caused on South Padre Island.

Island native Kerry Schwartz spotted the shattered door of Tate’s Clothing Tuesday morning and called the owners immediately.

"Anytime you have something out of the ordinary, with any kind of destruction or whatever, yeah, it's surprising," Schwartz said about the shattered door.

Shop owner Tate Celaya was too upset to speak on camera but told CHANNEL 5 NEWS that having destructive spring breakers is getting old. He said he even closes his shop during spring break because it's not a profitable time.

He said he paid $350 to replace his front door although no merchandise was stolen.

South Padre Island Police Chief Randy Smith said officers took the report of this possible act of vandalism as they did with the destroyed sandcastle in front of the convention and visitors bureau, and the graffiti spray painted on the South Padre Island welcome sign.

He added with 60,000 people at any given time on the island there are just more urgent matters to tend to, even with more officers on the island.

"Keeping traffic moving and investigating crimes that are super serious in nature right now,” Smith said, “and then everything is taken based on priority."

On the upside, he said, these acts of vandalism seem to be isolated.

"It hasn't panned out to be connected to a criminal organization," the chief added.

Schwartz said the benefits of having all these people on the island right now outweigh the negative.

"We're 99 percent tourist funded; tourism is the heart of our economy,” Schwartz said. “After September and Labor Day, it pretty much dies here on the island till March 1, when we start seeing an influx."

Smith said anyone caught in the act vandalizing private or public property can be arrested. All reports of vandalism, he adds, will be reviewed after the crowds die down.

The cost of fixing the damages falls on property owners. In these cases the owners of Tate's Clothing and the city of South Padre Island.

There is a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the sandcastle vandals. The damage is estimated at $24,000.

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