East Bay ice rink melting away after overnight vandalism

BRENTWOOD, Calif. (KGO) -- The Brentwood on Ice rink is melting slowly after vandals tampered with the valves to the ice chiller.

While the 37th annual Brentwood Holiday Parade was in full swing, once it turned on 2nd Street things also turned from joyful to, "It's upsetting", "it's sad" said several customers at the ice rink.

Today was supposed to be Brentwood on Ice's busiest day. 10-12 birthday parties were planned. At least 200 people were expected to skate. But, instead, the ice rink is empty.

"We came in this morning and it was a lake instead of an ice rink. So we kind of panicked and ran around," said Tom Gregory, Owner of Brentwood on Ice.

Once Gregory got to the back of the rink he found water running down his parking lot and his equipment tampered with.

"They opened a couple of drain lines that empty the refrigerant a lot of the refrigerant out of our ice rink system. Unfortunately, it may have damaged the chiller as well. We are having to replace the entire chiller tonight," said Gregory.

Gregory suspects a group of customers he says stole a pair of skates and got into an argument with an employee Friday night might have come back overnight and vandalized his business. Gregory filed a police report.

Former 49er and Raiders players Jeremy Newberry brought his son to the ice rink and left disappointed after hearing the news.

"I guess to be the Grinch of Christmas for so many young people," he said. "This is a great thing for this community and this parade is a great thing for this community. They took money out of really nice people's mouths."

While this community waits for the ice rink to reopen, they've come together to support this local business by buying hot chocolate and sweaters.

Some customers bet on what Santa might bring the vandals this year: "Probably some coal," said Brentwood resident, Annalyse Garcia.

Gregory says now he's working on getting a new chiller and freezing enough layers of ice to reopen the rink. This process can take between 3-4 days.

Brentwood on Ice is expected to reopen Wednesday.
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