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Someone stole five couplings that keep this Coquitlam school's playground safe

Students at Hampton Park Elementary are looking for other ways to play outside for the rest of the school year as RCMP investigate the vandalism.
Five couplings were stolen from Hampton Park Elementary's playground, prompting the Coquitlam school to close the structure for safety reasons.

Police are investigating vandalism at Hampton Park Elementary that could've potentially injured many of its young students if it wasn't discovered sooner.

Five couplings that keep the main structure of the Coquitlam school's playground (1760 Paddock Dr.) together were stolen earlier this month.

School District 43 (SD43) confirmed the incident to the Tri-City News, noting a file is open with RCMP.

Mounties spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins said the Westwood Plateau-area incident took place some time overnight last Thursday (June 1).

Fortunately, there was no other damage to the playground aside from the removed brackets.

"We do not have a cost estimate at this time, but the parts have been ordered," added SD43 spokesperson Ken Hoff.

He added the playground itself is 10 years old, so there are no plans in place to replace its entirety once the new couplings are installed.

This means Hampton Park students will look for other ways to enjoy the outdoors for the rest of the school year as three sections are now closed.

Following the inspection, maintenance staff decided to remove the pergola and another older wooden structure on the playground as a safety precaution.

Hoff said this is separate from the vandalism as crews determined both were showing signs of rotting around the base.

Parents were notified in an email from principal Colleen Castonguay, who said Hampton Park's maintenance crew inspected the damage on Monday (June 5).

Caution tape has also been put up around the playground.

It's not yet known, as of this publication (June 6), if Mounties are looking for suspects or if it's been determined why the brackets were stolen.

Anyone with more information about the vandalism is encouraged to call Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550 and quote file-number 2023-14693.