Visitor center restroom damaged by vandals

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NATCHEZ — The ladies restroom at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center has been vandalized for the second time in eight months, and officials seek the public’s help in identifying the perpetrators.

Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau Media Liaison Sally Durkin said surveillance tapes show four people entering the restroom at 12:14 a.m. Tuesday. A security guard later discovered toilet paper dispensers and paper towel dispensers had been ripped from the walls. Durkin estimates the damage to be worth several hundred dollars.

Durkin said a separate group of vandals damaged the ladies restroom at the center in November.

City of Natchez Tourism Director Connie Taunton said she is considering closing the restrooms overnight.

“This is a public restroom, and we do have the capability to lock the gates leading into that area at night, but we prefer to leave (the restrooms) open for travelers in need of a rest stop as they come into the state,” Taunton said. “When something like this happens, it forces you to change your mind about it.”

Durkin said the quartet caught on camera stayed in the restroom for approximately four minutes, and left the center in a dark-colored, four-door compact car. Durkin said the center’s security guard had just completed his hourly safety check before the incident occurred.

“(The security guard) makes the rounds every hour on the hour,” Durkin said. “He discovered the damage on the next round.”

Durkin said a report has been filed with the Natchez Police Department, and a reward is being offered for information leading to the perpetrators’ identities.

Anyone with information is urged to call the police department at 445-5565.