Vandals damage Balks

Shown is the broom that was the first indicator of the damage at Balk Lime & Ready Mix in Lime Springs. (Photo by Howad County Sherff’s Department)

Turning signals shot out with a BB gun. Grease smeared all over. Fire extinguisher powder in vehicles. That’s what greeted employees of Balk Lime & Ready Mix when they arrived at the plant on March 12.

Larry Burr and Paul Sobolik were planning to move the garage on the old Valery Gebel property and glanced toward the bulk plant and saw a broom handle sticking out of a window. When they went to investigate, it just got worse from there.

Most of the windows in the buildings had been broken, along with windows in a truck sitting on the south side of the shop. A BB gun was probably used. Turning signals and any other piece of glass were also shot out.

According to co-owner Dean Balk, besides glass being scattered all over, the vandals discharged fire extinguishers in vehicles and spread fiber mesh (a substance used in preparing cement) all over the floor.

Balk said, “They tipped over the refrigerator, microwave and TV; tore the first aid kit off the wall and threw it on the floor; and used a grease gun. The biggest damage was to the scales and water meter [which are used for weighing materials for cement].”

Burr said some of the equipment was old but in workable condition. Now brand new equipment will need to be purchased to replace the vandalized items.

With the broken windows, the furnace kept running until the LP ran out. That caused water lines to freeze and break. Balk said the damage is in the thousands of dollars.

Sheriff Mike Miner said the damage was done sometime after 4:30 Friday and Monday morning. Balk said Bruce Leverson had driven by the plant on Sunday afternoon and did not notice anything amiss, so he figures the damage occurred late Sunday afternoon or early evening.

The general consensus is that kids were the vandals.

Balk said, “They had a fascination with breaking glass and discharging fire extinguishers. I do know they took evidence home with them because when the guys were cleaning up, the fiberglass fibers clung to their shoes and they had a residue on them from the fire extinguishers.”

Five guys cleaned up for half a day on Monday and that doesn’t include the fixing of windows and other clean-up still required.

Miner said, “The Howard County Sheriff’s office is looking for any information. We believe it is possibly a young individual(s) from the Lime Springs area. It remains under investigation.”

Balk noted, “We are in the process of putting stuff back together.” They plan to keep the plant open.



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