GARFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A safe haven and place of fun for New Jersey children was ransacked by a burglar who turned his crime spree into an adventure, and was caught on camera.
“I find it sad in a way, because clearly it’s somebody who needs some help and just chose the Boys and Girls Club to be the place for destruction,” Garfield Boys and Girls Club executive director Paul Casey said on Friday.
Earlier, Norman Girdley Jr., 21, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and drug possession following an alleged overnight rampage.
Girdley busted up a vending machine, smashed windows, trashed the club’s office, and went for a swim, police said.
“It might be boredom, it might be he was just distraught,” Casey said.
Or, the alleged club invader may have simply been hungry.
Surveillance cameras show what appears to be Girdley slicing and eating a huge chunk of cake.
Garfield residents said they took comfort in the arrest.
“Well, I’m glad they caught him, glad that he’s not around to destroy this place that kids and other kids in the community depend on,” Elease Harper said.
The partially eaten cake was replaced by a donated cake, and a kids’ prom scheduled for Friday night went on as planned. In the end, club officials told CBS 2 the suspect may be forgiven.
“If there’s any role that we as an organization can play in turning him into a productive member of society, that’s something that we would want to do,” Casey said.
Most of the damage was to be covered by insurance. The Boys and Girls Club said it will rely on donations to pay for the rest.
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