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Desert Hot Springs VFW post vandalized, seeking donations

Local veterans at the Desert Hot Springs VFW post are looking to raise thousands of dollars to recover from recent vandalism attacks.

Post Commander Jeffrey Cole said the vandalism to VFW Post 1534 is wasting valuable resources.

"We're focusing on things that we shouldn't have to and that's why we're asking help from the community," Cole said.

The vandalism started about two months ago, with damage to one of the building's AC units. "They climbed on the roof. We realized that the valves the AC were open and the Freon was drained," he said. "We paid to refill the Freon. 24 hours later, it was drained again causing damage."

Click here to donate to VFW Post 1534's GoFundMe campaign.

A donated van used to escort veterans to events was also targeted last week.

"Somebody came in here and went under the van; they cut the gas line," Cole said. "We went to go fuel and all of the gas at the gas station was flooding. It won't even go in the gas tank."

Behind the post, security lighting fixtures were smashed leaving broken glass. Cole said recent tire tracks in the sand show someone was there who shouldn't have been.

And in one final show of disrespect, human feces were left near the front door.

Cole said the organization needs $2,500 to make repairs and add more security. The attacks come just as the VFW is finding its footing again after months disconnected from members.

"The fact that we have to take time and energy out of what we're supposed to be doing and putting it into repairs or fundraising that shouldn't be here, it's a bad situation that makes it tough," he said.

Cole said he has reason to believe it is a former member of the VFW that has now been banned there committing the vandalism. He said he's filed two police reports with the sheriff's department, which is adding patrols and contacting people of interest, according to Cole.

News Channel 3 has reached out to RSO for a response.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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