Tygart Lake State Park Sees Increase In Vandalism, Thievery, Breaking and Entering

23 May 2013
By Kelsey Pape, Marion and Taylor County Reporter

TAYLOR COUNTY - Tygart Lake State Park opened its marina just a few weeks ago and boaters are excited to get back onto the water.

But with the weather warming up and more people out and about, law enforcement said crime has gone up, too.

It should be an exciting time for Tygart Lake visitors, but some people are concerned about their belongings.

Law enforcement has been spending some extra time at the park and its not for a good reason.

"My investigation revealed someone broke the glass and went into the campers that we stored there," said Chief Deputy Robert Beltner, Taylor County Sheriff's Department. "They stole some items, did some vandalism. They entered the house boats and vandalized them," said Beltner.

Grafton residents said that's not even the half of it.

"Our dock, I noticed one jet ski was missing," said Marteny Jacobs, jet ski owner. "There were cut ropes on the dock. I knew immediately right then that somebody had cut our ropes and taken our jet ski."

For Jacobs, Tygart Lake State Park is a place to have fun.

The thought that someone could come and steal her belongings makes her feel a little uneasy.

"It kind of makes you really angry to know that you think your property is safe down there at the lake and the next thing you know, it's just gone," she said.

The Division of Natural Resources, West Virginia State Police, and the Taylor County Sheriff's Department are investigating the incidents.

"I just want to stress we are going to have extra patrols out, especially with Memorial Day coming up," Chief Deputy Beltner said. "Extra patrols are going to be out and we are going to be looking for anything going on."

Jacobs has since recovered her jet ski, but the person who stole it hasn't come forward.

"We thought we'd never see it again. We thought whoever stole it was going to sell it or use it for parts," she said. "Only two bars of gas were used and it was fine. No scratches or anything."

She encourages people to lock up their belongings, take the keys with them, and look out for each other.

"It's just a beautiful place to be and we just want to keep it that way," Jacobs said. "We don't want people to have to fear for their things to be stolen."

"We do have some suspects in mind and this investigation will be continuing," Chief Deputy Beltner said, "I want to catch them."

The DNR said it's currently conducting a investigation into the stolen jet ski's and could not comment on its progress.