Officials temporarily closed a park in San Diego's Chula Vista area after more than 30 razor blades were found in the grass – some with the blade side facing up – in what appears to be an intentional act.
The Chula Vista Police Department confirmed Friday that Harvest Park at 1550 E. Palomar Street, right in the middle of a residential community, is closed for investigation after razor blades were discovered scattered in a large grass area commonly used for youth sports activities.
According to police, a father was at the park Wednesday afternoon running football drills with his two sons when he spotted the shiny, sharp objects strewn about the grass. When he got closer, he found approximately 12 razor blades, some placed blade up, in an area about 30 feet in radius.
Investigators said some of the blades had been cut into pieces, consistent with having been hit by a lawn mower. Police said the park had been mowed by Chula Vista Parks and Recreation personnel that morning, explaining the smaller pieces.
When officers searched the area about 100 feet out, they discovered an additional eight razor blades, plus two more broken blades.
Police reached out to supervisors from parks and rec, who then shut down the park and began a detailed search of the entire area using metal detectors and magnets.
The following day, parks and rec personnel found more than a dozen more broken pieces of razor blades scattered throughout a large area of the park.
The case is under investigation, and although it appears to be an isolated incident, police said parks and rec employees are checking other parks throughout the city for razor blades as a precaution.
Anyone with information should call the Chula Vista Police Department at (619) 691-5202 or (619) 691-5151.
Though no injuries have been reported as a result of the razor blades, police said they are investigating this case as a felony crime that comes with serious charges, should they find the culprit. This ranges from child endangerment to setting up a booby trap, possession of a deadly weapon and assault with a deadly weapon, should someone get hurt.
Chula Vista mother Michelle Dilay, who lives around the block from Harvest Park, said the news of razor blades at this family-friendly spot is extremely worrisome. She told NBC 7 she found out about the park closure after another mom in the neighborhood sent out a text message alerting friends to the incident.
Dilay said she walks her dog there every day after she drops off her sons. Her kids also often play at the park, so this hits far too close to home for her.
“I’m really shocked that something so close to home would happen,” said Dilay. “How could this happen here? We’re such a quiet community. The only thing that ever happens here are birthday parties and soccer games.”
Dilay said she’s never seen any suspicious activity at Harvest Park, which makes this even more baffling to the local mother.
“Something that could hurt your child – it’s honestly sickening. It’s really sad,” she lamented.
Another local mother brought her baby, Charlie, to play at the park Friday only to find that it was closed.
“I think it’s pretty atrocious," the mother said of the razor blades incident. "There are kids here every day. I don’t know why someone would do something like this. It’s not okay.”
Another woman who lives across the street from Harvest Park told NBC 7 the park is often packed with kids playing sports. She worries someone might get hurt if more razor blades are put in the grass.
“I don’t want anything happening to my grandkids,” she said.
Other parks around San Diego have been the targets of similar crimes involving razor blades, including Bonita Cove Park, which has been hit several times since August 2013.
In May, police installed a security camera at that Mission Bay-area park in an effort to deter the unknown suspect responsible for intentionally planting razor blades there.
In the case of Bonita Cove Park, San Diego police have said the investigation is difficult because the incidents are often spread out, with months between each.
San Diego Police Department Lt. Scott Wahl said investigators do not know, at this point, if the cases at the two parks are in any way connected.
As for Harvest Park, officials said it will reopen Saturday, as long as city personnel deem it safe. As of 11:20 a.m., the park had reopened, according to parks and rec employee.