Downtown moose mauled by vandals
The large moose sculpture outside Moose Creek in downtown Park Rapids is no longer standing tall.
Sometime over the weekend it was vandalized. The antlers and legs were broken off.
Moose Creek owner Tom Paulson said he's not exactly sure when the vandalism happened but he's upset that "people have nothing better to do than terrorize the town" over Easter weekend, he said.
"I'm contemplating doing some sort of reward for prosecution of whoever vandalized it because I just think it's sickening," Paulson said. "He wasn't just a cheap little moose."
He wouldn't share exactly how much the moose was worth but said it was sculpted by an Eden Prairie artist named Terry Smith.
The moose had been placed in the garden outside Moose Creek for about four years. Paulson said it's sad that the vandalism was done because the moose had become a place for tourists to go.
"It was a destination for people that were vacationing to get pictures next to him in our garden area there," Paulson said. "It's a sad thing that we have this kind of thing going on in our northern Minnesota small town."
He has felt comfortable having items outside his store in the past but doesn't know if that will change.
"Is this a sign that everyone should paint their houses black and not have anything of decoration to make it pleasing for the rest of the people in the area? I don't know," he said.
Park Rapids police chief Terry Eilers said that the town is safe and this was an isolated incident.
"We practically live down there," he said about Main Avenue.
The police patrol downtown Park Rapids regularly and haven't had issues with vandalism recently, Eilers said. In fact, he said vandalism has been down.
"That moose has been there for three to four years and nobody has ever touched it," he said. "So, how am I supposed to catch one idiot who thinks he's gonna kill the moose. How are we supposed to stop that?"
Kids are often seen hanging around on that part of Main Avenue but Eilers doesn't think they are the vandals.
"Kids aren't taking control of Main street, they're not terrorizing town," Eilers said. "I'm guessing somebody came to town over the weekend. I guess I just don't see the local kids doing that."
Although Eilers said police are patrolling Main Avenue already, he said officers would keep a better eye on that part of town.
If anyone has information on the vandalism call the police department at 732-3124.