Acts of vandalism turns into teaching moment for Abilene teens


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Slashed tires, broken glass, and paint-smeared floors were waiting for the owner of the Windsor Hotel Apartments and the president of the Day Nursery of Abilene Monday morning following some late night vandalism.

“I don’t know that I ever was angry, very disappointed,” says Day nursery President and CEO Cynthia Pearson.

“It’s a rush of emotions, you can’t put a face to the act and you feel violated,” says Windsor Hotel Owner Horacio LeDon.

The late night spree put the day nursery in a tight spot, having to get all four tires on both their vans replaced before their 3 p.m. routes to get kids from school to daycare.

And the room defaced over at the Windsor is set to open as Abilene House Yoga this November. LeDon says his staff was able to clean up most of the mess, but a broken vending machine and obscene wall writings send a concerning message.

“You start to wonder, ‘Did we offend somebody, did we do something wrong?'” LeDon says.

While LeDon and Pearson dealt with the aftermath, a Facebook post asking for identification of those responsible was quickly making its rounds. Thanks to their security cameras, they were able to get pictures of the vandals to search for.

Identified later that day as two Abilene teenagers, it was the boys’ mothers that turned them in. Pearson says one of her staff members walked in during a meeting with news that she was not expecting.

“She said, ‘I’m sorry to interrupt, but the two boys and their mothers are here,” Pearson says.

Pearson sat with the young boys and their mothers. She says they got a stern talking to and their mothers were thankful that neither she nor LeDon chose to press charges after hearing apologies from the boys.

“I said, ‘You have a parent to help guide and direct you, and when you make wrong decisions to help you get back in line. That is what both of your mothers have done. Take that for what it’s worth and learn something of value'” Pearson said.

“I was on the receiving end of some goodwill back in the day when I was younger, and I think there’s no better time than the present to pay it forward,” said LeDon.

Even so, they didn’t get off scot-free. Pearson and LeDon say they will be in contact with the boys’ mothers to work out some kind of community service punishment, in hopes that this will be a turning point for them instead of a life-ruining experience.

“It’s fine to make wrong choices, but how are you going to keep from making that choice again?” says Pearson.

“It’s these moments that are super impressionable on them, so what can we do to turn that negative into a positive?” says LeDon.

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