Commonwealth Journal

News Live

September 17, 2013

Fountain Square Soap Opera

Somerset Police taking sudsy fountain seriously


Somerset —

 Even though Bourne was expecting the sudsing to eventually happen, it’s still not something that’s okay to do. Bourne said the county does have cameras positioned to observe anyone involved in such monkeyshines, and is actually in the process of putting better cameras in place.
Plus, shampooing the fountain is a criminal offense — seriously. Capt. Shannon Smith of the Somerset Police Department could warrant a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for those responsible. However, he believed it might be more likely to draw a charge of criminal mischief — a felony.
“(The fountain) is so large, it could do a lot of damage,” said Smith. And it’s expensive — so keep in mind that anything worth more than $1,000 in destruction could fetch a penalty of one to five years in jail.
Smith said his department has received about 10 to 12 complaints since the fountain opened about people climbing on it, wading in the pool, and general horseplay around the fountain.
It’s dangerous, he noted, because there are lights in the fountain — and water and electricity prove a dangerous combination. If something went wrong, somebody could be severely injured or even die.
“People dangling their feet in (the water) don’t realize the dangers,” said Smith, who suggested signs posted around the fountain warning citizens not to get in the water would be helpful.
Still, even Smith knows people are going to do just that — and this most recent sudsing likely won’t be the last.
“I was just driving to work and saw it going around the square like anybody else did,” said Bourne. “I was just waiting for it to happen.”

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