A Delaware contractor aims to find out who caused damage to equipment at the Ruddertowne site, where workers are widening the beach.
Ruddertowne is currently undergoing redevelopment, which will include a Hyatt Hotel, condominiums, a public baywalk and an extension of the neighboring beach on Rehoboth Bay and Van Dyke Avenue.
Jim Baeurle, partner at Ruddertowne developer Dewey Beach Enterprises, said someone poured sand and gravel into the gas tank of a front-end loader that was parked at the construction site. Baeurle said the crime was not a random act because the culprit had to break into the locked gas tank. “It was directed at the project,” he said.
The loader was being used to replenish the bayside beach at Van Dyke Avenue, just south of Que Pasa. Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control approved the project May 23.
Workers knew something was wrong because the machine kept breaking down, Baeurle said. He said a mechanic was called, who discovered the problem and drained the fuel tank.
No only was there damage to the loader, but a day of work was also lost, Baeurle said.
Diamond Hill Inc., subcontractor for the project and owner of the loader, is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the culprit. In an Aug. 14 statement, Diamond Hill officials say the crime occurred between Aug. 7 and Aug. 9.
Diamond Hill President Michael Sheehan said, "No acts of illegal trespass or project sabotage will be tolerated."
Chris Swan of Diamond Hill said the machine was still undergoing repairs. He said he did not yet know the cost of the damages. “I am certain it will be thousands of dollars,” he said.
Both Baeurle and Diamond Hill said there is overwhelming community support for the project.