Home of convicted child molester vandalized

Home of convicted child molester vandalized

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police are investigating after the Providence home of Richard Gardner was vandalized late Saturday night.

According to the police report obtained by Eyewitness News, two pieces of cinder block were thrown through the window of the Washington Park home where Gardner and his wife reside.

Gardner, who was convicted of sexually assaulting children in Warwick and Massachusetts in the late 1980s, was released from prison in October. Because his crimes pre-date Megan’s Law, his address was not made public, but area residents were quick to figure out where he was living.

Protesters gathered outside the home on a number of occasions after Gardner moved in, and several community meetings were held on the matter.

The vandalism took place the day after Providence police stopped providing detail outside the home, according to Major David Lapatin, who said it was a drain on their manpower and costing the city thousands of dollars.

“We feel that we’ve given the neighborhood enough time to prepare themselves for Mr. Gardner living amongst them and we also hope that Mr. Gardner is safe where he chooses to live,” Lapatin said.

When Gardner first moved in, police had a permanent presence at the home for both the public’s and Gardner’s safety. Lapatin said the detail was scaled back after Gardner’s release from prison in mid-November, after a judge dismissed a charge on which he was arrested two weeks prior.

“Back then it was around-the-clock coverage, two detectives, we scaled it back to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., one detective, so it was not as costly,” Lapatin explained.

Lapatin said police are still giving special attention to the neighborhood, including regular checks by patrol officers.

He said police don’t have anyone in custody or any suspects in mind in regards to the vandalism.

Gardner told police he saw a man in the area after the window was broken but could not provide any descriptive details, according to the police report. The responding officers advised him to install security cameras and better lighting to deter future vandalism.

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