Pontotoc Police officials said a reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for vandalizing the public rest rooms located at the Off the Square Market on Lafayette Street and those located at the First Choice Bank Gateway along College Street adjoining the Tanglefoot Trail. Both sets of mens and women's rest rooms are located in downtown Pontotoc.

Lifelong Pontotoc resident Don Russell who voluntarily helps to clean and maintain the rest room facilities said the vandalism is increasing.

“We’ve had problems since those rest room facilities were opened but it’s getting worse and the things they are doing are getting worse and the police and city officials are putting up a reward to help stop it or at least arrest those responsible,” Russell said.

“Three times in the past three weeks the rest rooms at the Off the Square Market have been vandalized terribly,” Russell said. “Someone is defecating on the floor and the top of the toilet lids and smearing it on the wall. The toilets are being stuffed with toilet paper. One time paper towels were piled on top and it all set on fire.”

“It’s deliberate, it’s senseless destruction and obviously those responsible don’t have any respect for themselves or others. Myself and Terry Lynn Donaldson and others work to keep those rest rooms clean and nice for visitors and local folks who visit the market and the gateway and we need help in catching those responsible. DNA evidence has been collected and the public’s input will help.”

Pontotoc Deputy Police Chief Bob Poe said a reward will be paid for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for vandalism.

“Anyone with information can call the police department at 489-7804,” Poe urged. “All we need is the information. If the information pans out and we make an arrest, the reward will be paid and no one will know where the information came from.”

“Malicious mischief is the charge for such vandalism and conviction carries a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail, or both,” he said. “If more than one is involved maybe one will tell on the others.”

Pontotoc Mayor Bob Peeples said video surveillance cameras have been installed at the gateway rest rooms and cameras are being installed at the Off the Square Market locations also.

“We will prosecute anyone involved in such behavior and destruction to the fullest extent of the law,” Peeples said. “Obviously this is inexcusable behavior.”

“We want the trail and the market place to be used by local residents and visitors and it just takes the pitiful behavior of one or more to mess up what others respect and work to maintain. Hopefully the cameras and reward will help with arresting those responsible.”

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