Fairfield Ledger
https://fairfield-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1671987

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 17, 2017

Van Buren vows to stop trespassers at county quarry

By Rusty Ebert, Ledger correspondent | Jul 27, 2017

KEOSAUQUA – Van Buren County is growing wary of trespassers at the county quarry and is taking steps to make the area more secure, after recent incidents of swimming, a break-in and vandalism to equipment.

According to Van Buren district court, two people from Fairfield were charged with trespassing at the quarry July 8. In another incident, Van Buren County Engineer Ryne Thornburg told supervisors Monday that someone entered the new Volvo excavator and broke one of the switches. Thornburg said there have been no charges or arrests in the vandalism case.

The two events are believed to be unrelated. The equipment is across the road from the place where trespassers swim and was not parked in an area visible to the road, according to Thornburg.

“We are looking into our options in making the county quarry more secure,” said Thornburg.

Law enforcement does patrol the property.

As for the Volvo, “We don’t know how much damage it was,” Thornburg said. The machine was unlocked.

Van Buren County Attorney Virginia Barchman told supervisors that swimming violators are getting more brazen.

“On Facebook, Fairfield people will encourage their friends to swim at the quarry. What a great thing this is, telling people that it’s a great place to teach babies to swim in 100 feet of water ... stupid and dangerous stuff like that,” Barchman said.

Not only is it illegal and dangerous to use the county quarry to swim, trespassers also have been leaving a mess, in the form of human excrement. Brazenly, one time when a trespasser was confronted by law enforcement about this, the perpetrator hinted that the county should provide bathroom facilities, Barchman reported.

Many of those who have been charged with trespassing at the county quarry in recent years have Fairfield addresses, according to court records.

Barchman said the state increased the fine for trespassing to $200. In addition, the court can assess a $125 law enforcement surcharge.

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