SAFFORD — In a disturbing act of vandalism, someone destroyed one of the backboards at the Ed Ragland Courts at Safford Middle School.

News broke on Facebook via Ed Ragland’s post.

“Can’t believe it! Drove by the basketball courts on 8th Ave. this morning. Someone broke another backboard! And I’ve got 16 youth teams looking for places to practice!” Ragland wrote.

This is the second time a backboard at the Ragland Courts has been damaged, the first occurring in May. The courts are open for free public use whenever school is not in session.

Safford Police Chief Joe Brugman said an investigation into the damage was initiated last Friday and, confirmed with the Courier on Monday, that a person of interest has reportedly admitted to this latest incident of breaking a backboard. He said the Safford Police school resource officer is handling the investigation after the initial report was made to the department.

Ed’s wife, Monika, said, “I took pics of all the damage. It looks like they’ve torn off the pads from at least three of the posts. The bleachers are down to one section. The other sections were damaged and removed. The shade cloth has been damaged. And now two of the backboards have been broken. Also, the dedication sign was vandalized and repaired, thanks to Danny Smith. Danny Smith also found a way to purchase a replacement for the first broken backboard, but it hasn’t been put up yet.”

“This project has been a great honor for me,” Ed said. “I was so excited to see so many entities and individuals come together for the good of the community. It seemed like such a great addition for our community. I’ve seen kids and adults playing at the old courts since I first lived two doors down from them in our first home in Safford.

“It saddens me to think that our citizens are being deprived of the use of a top-notch facility due to the actions of a disrespectful few. I’ve never understood why some have the need to damage things that were created for the betterment of all.”

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