The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 10, 2012

Seneca council approves $500 reward for conviction in vandalism of mayor’s house

By Roger McKinney

SENECA, Mo. — The Seneca City Council this week approved offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who vandalized the house of Mayor Mark Bennett last week.

Councilman Cecil Vance made the motion to offer the reward.

Bennett discovered spray-painted obscenities and other graffiti on all four sides of his house, on his pickup truck and on his wife’s car when he left his house to go to work last Thursday morning. The vandals also cut nearly every screen on windows and doors of the home.

He said the word “mayor” was included in the profane messages, so he believes the vandals knew whose home they were targeting.

Bennett, who took office in April, said last week that he didn’t know what may have prompted the vandalism.

“Very honored,” he said by phone Wednesday about the reward offered by the city. “It makes you feel really good to know your city supports you.”

He said there has been an outpouring of volunteers since last week from Seneca and the surrounding area.

“They’ve helped us clean our vehicles and our house both,” Bennett said. He said he has started repainting his house.

City Clerk Cindy Hutchings said someone has started funds at People’s Bank of Seneca. One of the funds is for contributions to help the mayor restore his home and property. Another fund is for contributions to add to the reward for the arrest and prosecution of the vandals.

Bennett said the generosity of the volunteers counteracts the actions of the vandals.

“There’s just a whole lot more good in Seneca than bad,” he said.


SENECA POLICE are asking that anyone with information about the vandalism of the mayor’s home call 417-776-8158.