WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Was it an act of vandalism or something much more?
That’s the question Luzerne County officials are trying to answer after someone vandalized the legal offices of Children and Youth Services.
Someone threw a brick through the window of the building on Union Street that houses the legal offices of Children and Youth Services. This comes as C.Y.S. is under state investigation as well as an internal review by county officials.
This is what employees of Luzerne County Children and Youth Services found when they came to work on Thursday morning: A gaping hole in a first-floor office.
Someone threw a brick, believed to have been taken from near a tree only feet from the window. This comes just months after the former director of C.Y.S., Joanne Van Saun was charged with allegedly ordering employees to terminate or erase child abuse complaints in May of 2017.
She faces several charges including endangering the welfare of children. Two weeks ago the state downgraded the agency’s license to ‘provisional’ and its operations are monitored by state Department of Human Services. County officials are taking this incident very seriously.
“So we filed a report with Wilkes-Barre police and I’m sure they will follow up with our county detectives to see if this issue is related to anything that we currently have going on with Children and Youth Services or if it was an isolated incident. We are trying to figure that out,” Luzerne County Director of Administrative Services Dave Parsnik said.
Security has been beefed up at the Union Street offices and their main offices located across the street.
“The employees here should be vigilant of anything that goes on outside when they might be in the area. If there’s anybody that’s outside of the building that really they think shouldn’t be there they should contact our security office, the sheriff or call 9-1-1,” Parsnik said.
County detectives are looking at security camera video from nearby buildings for possible leads to the person responsible and bricks near tree near the building were removed Thursday morning.
“I just think it’s an unfortunate circumstance and people who work in that building provide the service really are trying to do a good job. I would hope that people would respect that,” Luzerne County Council Chairman Tim McGinley said.
Acting Luzerne County Manager Romilda Crocamo says this incident is not being taken lightly.
“County administration and county council take any threat to any county employee very seriously and we will get to the bottom of this,” Crocamo said.
Several years ago a Luzerne County man admitted he firebombed the main offices of C.Y.S. to intimidate case workers. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.