LONG ISLAND (AP) — A Long Island park named after the former commanding officer of the Port Authority Police Academy who died during the 9/11 attacks has been vandalized. Within 24 hours, police say, a second park, this one just built to honor one of the children killed on 12/14, was also vandalized.
Nassau County Police say the damage to Kathy Mazza Memorial Park, in South Farmingdale, L.I., was discovered by officers during a routine patrol on Saturday, September 28.
They say flowers were torn from the ground and thrown around the memorial, branches from surrounding trees were ripped off, and bricks from a wall around the memorial were removed.
Mazza was a captain with the Port Authority police last seen helping people out of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Mazza’s mother Rose Mazza said on Saturday this was at least the third time the park has been vandalized.
In Island Park, approximately 14 miles southwest of South Farmingdale, police say a bell dedicated to one of the children who died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre vanished just hours after it was placed at a newly built playground.
Nassau County police say the 8-inch by 8-inch brass bell was discovered missing around 1 pm Sunday, September 29. It was last seen around 9 pm Saturday.
That was the day the community completed a two-day effort to construct a playground dedicated to the memory of Caroline Previdi. The playground is part of a project called “The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play,” being spearheaded by New Jersey’s Firefighter’s Mutual Benevolent Association.
The playgrounds — one for each child and staff member killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School — are being built in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut communities hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. The project connects the two tragedies that share the name Sandy.
The inscription on the bell that has disappeared from the Island Park playground says “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings.”
Detectives ask anyone with information related to either case contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS (800-244-8477).