Vidalia officials seeking information regarding riverfront thefts

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

VIDALIA — Miss-Lou residents may have a difficult time finding a place to sit on the Vidalia Riverfront.

On June 23, three iron benches disappeared from the Vidalia Riverfront, according to conference center director H.L. Irvin. Irvin estimated the benches cost $1,200 each.

The same night, several pieces of wooden furniture were thrown in the Mississippi River, Irvin said.

Email newsletter signup

As a result of the disappearing furniture, Irvin said he hired an additional security guard, bringing the conference center’s total to two.

The security guards monitor the Vidalia Riverfront until 10 p.m., when the riverfront closes. After that, Irvin said, it’s the Vidalia Police Department’s responsibility to monitor the riverfront.

He didn’t file a police report; instead, Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis said Irvin notified the mayor.

“I’m a little bit confused about the whole situation,” Lewis said. “We didn’t receive a police report.”

Irvin said he thought notifying the mayor verbally was sufficient.

Irvin said he was unable to identify the culprits behind the theft after reviewing camera footage, and said he plans to purchase and install two cameras to help thwart future attempts.

But initial crime-stopping measures may not have been enough.

Irvin said the riverfront narrowly escaped another attempt to steal furniture on Sunday.

“Today I saw that the chain was cut on one of our benches toward the boat ramp, but the table hadn’t been removed,” Irvin said. “These kinds of things haven’t ever happened before.”

Irvin said he is offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of individuals involved in the theft.