Vandals break into Matchbox Theatre

Published 10:54 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Volunteers with Matchbox Children’s Theatre are looking to turn a negative situation into a positive after its costume shop was broken into and vandalized over the weekend.

Matchbox officials are cleaning up and assessing the damage after the costume shop it shares with the Riverland and Summerset theaters on the 900 block of West Oakland Avenue was broken into.

Several items were spray painted, including a printer and microwave, and the vandals stole a few items and some toy guns while causing some other damage.

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Jennifer Wiebrand, a Matchbox board member and volunteer, found the door jimmied open on Monday morning and reported it to police. Though disappointed this happened, she said the volunteer-run theater company is moving on, and she’s already seeing much support from the community.

“As awful as it is, something positive always comes of it,” she said. “We’re very grateful for Austin and all they do for us.”

From 9 a.m to noon Saturday, Matchbox had already planned an event to organize the costume shop and take some props and costumes over for Riverland Community College’s upcoming theater season. Now, they’ll be doing some cleanup work too.

A microwave and printer were spray painted with graffiti. However, the graffiti does not match a string of vandalisms reported around town with the words “Little Fox,” “Lit Fox” and Freak, according to Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger.

In fact, Wiebrand described the vandalism was immature, which implied the act was committed by juveniles.

The vandals damaged some old theater chairs and stools from the former Spam Museum that had been donated to Matchbox and were to be sold to raise money.

“They destroyed a lot of the great stuff we got from the Spam Museum,” Wiebrand said.

Wiebrand also reported some broken glass and other items damaged. But the vandals didn’t damage or take a great deal of clothing and mostly stole some toy guns, not taking anything more valuable.

“So we’re thankful for that,” she said.

Krueger said the department does not have any suspects at this time.