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KPD locates vehicle after Austin-East baseball field was torn up; fundraiser exceeds goal to pay for repairs

Knoxville police said at least two vehicles were involved in separate incidents, including a silver Chevy pickup in the Austin-East incident.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville police said they located a vehicle believed to be involved in a vandalism incident at Austin-East High School as it investigates a string of similar incidents that happened Monday.

The Knoxville Police Department said vehicles drove through and vandalized Austin-East High School's baseball field, Lakeshore Park and Rocky Hill Ball Fields.

KPD said the first incident happened on Monday, January 17th around 11:11 a.m. A driver in a silver Chevy pickup truck came to the Austin-East baseball field and damaged it by driving in circles on the field.

Credit: Knoxville Police Department

According to the police, the damage to the field would cost up to $10,000 to repair.

KPD said Friday evening it had located the suspected vehicle, saying the investigation into the vandalism is ongoing.

One Knoxville Sporting Club said it was heartbroken by the damage, so it started a GoFundMe campaign to raise at least $10,000 to pay for repairs to the field. Just a few hours after starting, the campaign exceeded that goal and raised more than $11,000 with more than 120 donations.

"It wasn't fair. It seemed like a wrong that could be righted, and that's what we decided to do," said Drew McKenna One Knoxville, the city's professional soccer team which started the fundraiser.

A second incident happened later Monday at Lakeshore Park near the Parks and Recreation building. KPD said around 1 p.m. a dark colored SUV drove on the lawn in front of the building, causing roughly $3,500 in damage.

KPD said a juvenile male was identified in that incident and the "case is nearing a resolution." The incident is not believed to be related to the one at Austin-East, police said.

A third incident also happened Monday at Rocky Hill Ball Fields on Alki Lane that police said was similar to the one at Austin-East. KPD said an unknown vehicle drove on a ball field, causing about $900 in damage.

KPD said no one witnessed the incident and there was no surveillance video, so police are unsure if it was the same vehicle that vandalized the Austin-East baseball field. 

Anyone with information regarding the vandalism incidents or vehicles are urged to contact East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers at 865-215-7165, online at www.easttnvalleycrimestoppers.org or the P3 Tips mobile app.

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