Arson at park playground leaves little kids with no place to pla - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Arson at park playground leaves little kids with no place to play

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Abbott Park in Charlotte had a jungle gym that gave little kids a place to play, stretch their arms and legs on ladders, slides, and monkey bars. Now, the children who live near Abbott Park don't have anything because the park no longer has a playground. Police say someone set it on fire.

"It's disheartening" said Jeff Land. "And to see the equipment burn up like that - that's the word that comes to heart. It was just very disheartening."

Land, a life long resident in the neighborhood, called 911 the night of May 8th. He went outside and saw the fire in the park - which is across the street from his house.

"The flames were 20 feet high" said Land. "This is the biggest park in this neighborhood. All the kids migrate down here to play on the equipment. Unfortunately, they don't have anything to play on right now."

"We usually don't see playground equipment burn up like it did" said Detective Robert Klass of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Arson Unit.

Now, police are asking for the public's help to solve the case.

'We don't have any video footage. It's really difficult and we're just looking for a tip from the public to kind of aid us in our investigation" Detective Klass said. "Because of the location of the park, we don't have any witnesses that have come forward."

Investigators suspect juveniles or teens set the playground on fire. Detective Klass said there were a lot of plastic parts and "once that plastic starts burning - it will really take off."

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation told WBTV the fire caused an estimated $45,000 in damage. Workers had to remove the playground. They say it will take several months before they could bring a new playground to the park.

"It made me very upset for that reason - what are the kids going to play on" said neighbor Jeff Land. "The park is used regularly by the neighborhood kids. And that's who I really feel bad for. They're the ones who occupy it most of the time."

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