HIGH RIDGE, Mo. - An elementary school playground goes up in flames and police think the same vandals also damaged two other schools in Jefferson County.
The superintendent says the playground will cost thousands of dollars to repair at Murphy Elementary School. The other two schools hit were Brennan Woods Elementary and Woodridge Middle School, but the vandals did the most damage at Murphy Elementary.
Sisters and Murphy Elementary students Allison and Adalynn Gsell have their own play set in their front yard, but prefer to go to the "park." that's what they call Murphy Elementary.
"Well, there's monkey bars, I like the monkey bars," said Adalynn.
Now, after someone torched the playground, they are not so sure they want to go back to the park.
"They could be there again when we go," said Allison.
"They could be hiding or something," said Adalynn.
Their mom, Melissa Daniellesapp, says it's the proximity of the arson that's troubling her. They live just right down the street from the school.
"To think someone is just right there setting fire to something that's not far away, because we walk to the school all the time," she said.
Capt. Ron Arnhart with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says the three schools were all hit with graffiti spray painted on the exterior walls.
"Pictures of body parts, and stuff like that which tends to make you believe that it was kids," he said.
The targeted schools are in the Northwest School District and are all within a one mile radius. Just to replace this playground set, the superintendent says it will cost them $35,000.
"We are a close knit community and if they've told people it's going to get back to us," said Superintendent Paul Ziegler.
The district has to bring in a sandblasting crew to clean up the graffiti. No word on how long that will take.
If you have any information call the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office at 636-797-5515.