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Officials are trying to find vandals who knocked down 25 bollards along the Nickel Plate Trail, including the one pictured north of Kokomo.

Nickel Plate Trail officials are looking for the vandals who knocked down 25 bollards from Peru to Kokomo, causing around $12,000 in damage and marking the worst vandalism incident since the trail opened.

Mike Kuepper, president of the trail organization, said volunteers first learned about the damage on Saturday after a trail user reported seeing blocks knocked down north of Kokomo.

He said they believe the person or people spent hours sometime Friday night driving around 15 miles on the trail, from south of Peru to north of Kokomo, pushing over nearly every bollard along the way.

“It’s just malicious,” Kuepper said. “This isn’t the way I wanted to start out 2021.”

Most of the blockades were located where the trail intersects with a road, where they were meant to deter vehicles from turning onto the pathway.

The only bollards not toppled were in Bunker Hill and Miami.

“It’s hard to put my mind into the mind of an idiot, but I’m guessing they decided to not knock them down in a town where there’s a better chance they might get caught,” Kuepper said.

Now, trail officials are trying to figure out how to pay for repairs. They estimated each bollard would cost around $480 to replace, totaling $12,000.

Officials are also working to track down the perpetrator. Kuepper said they have reported the incident to the sheriff’s departments in both Howard and Miami counties.

“It’s just maddening,” he said. “But if this gets publicized, maybe someone will come forward. If someone has tips, reach out to your sheriff’s department.”

Kuepper said they also hope to work with the sheriff’s departments to increase patrols around the trail to deter any vandalism in the future.

“We’re just going to explore to see what options we have,” he said.

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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