Teen Arrested in Far Rockaway Playground Vandalism

Officials said someone plowed a stolen excavator through the playground, which was slated to open this summer.

Police announced an arrest Thursday in last week's vandalism of a new Queens playground that was set to open this summer.

Allan Swafford, 17, was arrested at about 11:30 a.m. after police investigated a Crime Stoppers tip, police said. Swafford, who has three prior burglary arrests, has been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal mischief and burglary.

It was not immediately known if he had an attorney.

Swafford is accused of stealing a construction excavator and plowing through the Far Rockaway playground on March 20, leaving behind piles of mangled equipment and twisted slides.

The playground near the Rockaway Beach boardwalk was slated to open this summer, but after $100,000 worth of damage, the project was temporarily put into jeopardy.

Councilman James Sanders Jr. released a statement after Swafford's arrest Thursday, saying, "Far Rockaway is turning a new page, and this kind of senseless vandalism will no longer be tolerated."

The Parks Department said it is hoping to open the playground sometime this summer.

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