Razors were placed at Lakebottom Park to cause harm

Source: Rachel Blyler
Source: Rachel Blyler

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA  (WTVM) - Police patrol has been beefed up around Lakebottom Parks and other area parks after several razor blades were found intentionally taped to parts of a popular playground.

The startling discovery was made by a Columbus mother Tuesday morning.

Police say the woman found razor blades taped to several places like the slide and others where children would innocently put their little hands.

She flagged down an officer for help and the playground immediately became a crime scene.

Now, officers are canvassing the area, speaking with businesses, schools and anyone who frequents the park.

Officials in the Columbus Police Department tell WTVM Wednesday they do have several leads they are following up on and that they are working to identify fingerprints found on the blades and tape.

According to police, the prints do not match those of the woman that reported finding them.

"The type of razor blades that was used was the kind that would be placed in an instrument similar to a box cutter and they were taped to the edges of the particular rides and play instruments," said Major Julius Graham, who oversees the Columbus Police Department's Patrol Division.

"There were nine razor blades discovered on different apparatuses- the slide and some of the things you hang off of. They were taped there," explained Tony Adams, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

Officers and city workers combed the playground searching for any danger. The city's Park and Recreations Department also launched a city-wide search of all local playgrounds and notified the school district.

"We made a thorough check of the Lakebottom Park itself to include metal detectors for any loose items that may have been placed under the surface or on the surface that were not visible to the eye," Major Graham said.

The big question is who would do something so sinister?

Police are working to find the answer. They say from the way the razors were placed, one thing is very clear. "It looks like they were taped to do bodily harm. I've been with the department 20 years and I've never seen anything like that," Adams told News Leader 9.

"The evidence indicated that it was done to cause harm to whomever accessed the rides at the park. No one was injured fortunately and at this time, we're investigating the incident and we solicit, as always, any help from the public in regards to this incident," Major Graham added.

City officials are urging parents to keep an eye out for anything suspicious at Columbus playgrounds and at the moment, all city playgrounds are open.

Police officials are also asking parents to be cautious and check all playground equipment before their children use it, including those parks that are in neighborhoods and are privately owned (not city or school district playgrounds).

The director of Parks and Recreation tells WTVM after a check of every park and playground citywide, Lakebottom is the only park where the razors turned up Tuesday.

Myles Caggins, the Chief of Operations and Facilities for the Muscogee County School District sent a message to all school principals and athletic directors Tuesday to check their school's playground equipment.  So far, there have been no reports of blades found.

For a full report of how area schools quickly responded to the safety alert, check out  Razor blades on playground prompt schools into action.

We're told Muscogee County Schools sent letters to parents notifying them of Tuesday's events.

St. Elmo School located across from Lakebottom will not be using the playground for the remainder of the year as a safety precaution.  They will also move their end of school year picnic, which has been held at Lakebottom for "quite a few years" elsewhere.

The Columbus Health Department is asking the public to contact their health care provider if their child were cut by a razor blade while at the park. 

Many fitness enthusiasts use the playground equipment at Lakebottom to exercise. Following Tuesday's scare, they are taking precautions.

For a full report of how they are taking heed check out, Fitness class takes precaution after razor blades scare.

News Leader 9 is following this story. We'll continue to bring you the latest.

©2010 WTVM. All rights reserved.