State

Paint-wielding vandals hit McHenry Mansion

Vandals hit the McHenry Mansion sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday, tagging messages on a fence along the 15th Street side and exploding paint-filled condoms against the window on the I Street side. They also tore down recently installed video surveillance cameras.

The incident followed a story in Tuesday's Bee detailing city plans to clean up the park across 15th Street from the mansion, which over the past few years has become a daily hangout for homeless people, among others. Some sleep there, but others have been observed dealing drugs, drinking, defecating and urinating in the tiny park.

While the mansion has seen increased vandalism, including broken windows and sprinklers, the graffiti found Wednesday morning was different. One read: "The Rich Can't Keep Us Out" while another read "We kill Yuppies."

"Those haven't appeared before," said Julie Hannon, Modesto's director of parks and recreation. "The whole message behind it — I don't think it's the same group that's usually there."

The city is considering fencing off the park for six months, or turning it over to the McHenry Mansion Foundation. That would make it private property, giving the police more enforcement options.

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