Thieves took off with $2,500 worth of tools from the construction site for the Clark County Scaregrounds Halloween attraction on Friday, but the co-owner says friends have stepped up to lend what’s needed to complete the job.
Jason Greeley-Roberts said the theft happened either Thursday night or early Friday morning. He and his crew, who are building the attractions at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, left around 7 p.m. Thursday. When they returned the next morning, Greeley-Roberts couldn’t find his power drill.
A quick check of the worksite revealed that numerous power tools were missing. Basically, anything powered and expensive, including essential micro and circular saws, were gone.
Greeley-Roberts went to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office directly next to the fairgrounds to report the theft, but he said he’s not too optimistic about having the tools returned.
Sgt. Fred Nieman said deputies took a report about the theft. The investigation is at a standstill as no suspect information is available, but deputies will follow up on any information they come across, Nieman said.
“It was pretty surprising. The fairgrounds are secured. The gates around the grounds are locked up every night, and the buildings are also individually locked up,” Greeley-Roberts said.
It appears the thief or thieves jumped the fence surrounding the fairgrounds and then pried the door open to a building that will house one of several haunted scenarios for this year’s event. They did not break the door open, the owner said, but bent a metal latch with a padlock, forcing the entrance open just enough to slip through.
The tools were placed into a single box, on hand at the site, and hauled off, Greeley-Roberts said.
Friends reached out and offered to lend Greeley-Roberts some tools to finish building the Scaregrounds. Building the sets for the event is no easy task. Construction generally runs behind schedule, but despite the theft, things are coming together on time, Greeley-Roberts said.
“We can’t let anything like this slow us down, but it’s going to hurt us financially in the short-term,” he said.
Greeley-Roberts hopes everyone who works in some sort of capacity at the fairgrounds can learn from the experience. He started locking up the tools around the worksite at night, even if they’re in a secured building, and he changed some locks.
“I’m not expecting to get the tools back. That’d be a long shot. So we have to be careful with what we have,” he said.
The Scaregrounds opens Oct. 5 and will feature three all new haunted houses, including Sector 13, an attraction previously featured at FrightTown at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Rose Quarter in Portland. FrightTown is not operating this year.
Those interested in intentionally raising their heart rates can buy presale tickets on the Scaregrounds website, which will partly help the construction crew replace its tools, Greeley-Roberts said.