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Pickleball court vandalism stuns New York City park. Here's what perplexed players have to say.

Pickleball court vandalism stuns New York City park
Pickleball court vandalism stuns New York City park 01:40

NEW YORK -- Police say a vandal has been targeting pickleball courts in Riverside Park.

He has allegedly struck three times in the last week, slashing nets and throwing out equipment in the trash.

Pickleball has surged in popularity, and the courts are always packed in Riverside Park.

However, someone seems to have it in for the fast-growing sport. Players say a vandal has struck the courts near 110th Street multiple times since May 18.

In a statement the Parks Department said, in part, "We are currently working with NYPD to get more information on the individuals who did this."

Pickleball players describe the vandalism

Eduardo Valentin said the first time the man slashed and dismantled the nets and then came back the next day when no one was around and allegedly stole the nets.

"Early in the morning he started putting in a black bag, taking the nets, and then he came back and picked up our barriers," Valentin said.

Players later found the equipment thrown out with trash.

But, that wasn't the last of the damage.

"Following day, he came and got rid of the baskets here and seems like he doesn't like this community," pickleball player Betsy Plush said.

The pickleball community rallied together to buy new portable nets, but it no longer leaves them out overnight. Players pack them in storage bins and lock them up.  

"Just let us enjoy our park"

The vandalism has left many puzzled as to why anyone would target a group of pickleball players.

"It's a great place to hang, so I don't know why someone would do something like that," player Gil Eplan said.

"I know there has been controversy with pickleball, say the noise, but there's a highway. We aren't next to anyone's home," Plush said. "Just let us enjoy our park."

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