O’FALLON, Ill. – A few weeks ago, vandals polluted a swimming pool in O’Fallon, Illinois with motor oil, causing it to turn black.
The Gibson family pool is back to normal, but their entire neighborhood is still haunted by crime.
It happened around 4:30 a.m. Sunday, July 16. The Gibson family woke up to the sound of breaking glass. Vandals threw landscaping bricks through their front windows after pouring a gallon or more of motor oil into the pool and concrete pool deck.
On Monday afternoon, 9-year-old Bailey Gibson was swimming again. However, nighttime fears remained, according to her mom, Suzanne.
“I dread nighttime right now,” Suzanne said. “Shutting all the blinds, locking all the doors, setting the alarms, making sure we have everything ready in case someone were to come back.”
The sound of shattered windows was captured by a surveillance camera. Looking out the window, Suzanne’s husband initially mistook the oil on the concrete pool deck for blood.
Even with the pool restored, the worst parts of the situation remain no arrests and the uncertainty of why they were targeted.
“It’s the aggressiveness of the bricks through the windows that continues to bother us,” Suzanne said. “Just last night, it was our daughter’s first night trying to sleep in her bed again since this all happened. She made the comment along the lines of, ‘Hey, is someone going to be strong enough to throw a brick up to my 2nd story window?’ I know at least 10 neighbors in this neighborhood who have bought massive security systems. Everyone’s on edge.”
The Gibsons have blanketed the area with more than 400 fliers asking people with information to call O’Fallon, Illinois police at 618-624-4545. A couple of drivers confirmed seeing two juvenile males on a scooter or mini-bike near the home at the time of the crime, which is a felony property damage offense.
The cost of replacing the pool deck, which has been soaked in oil, is estimated to be around $45,000. Additionally, the pump and pipes of the pool needed to be replaced. Fortunately, a friend helped speed up the process of obtaining new windows.
“This single act of hate is awful, but the amount of love and support we have gotten is truly unreal,” Suzanne said.
Police now confirm they are pursuing viable leads.
Understanding the identity of the person involved, and their motives can bring closure and potentially reduce sleepless nights for the Gibsons.