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Playground prank designed to injure children discovered at Oak Lawn, IL park

Drywall screws similar to the ones reportedly found in the slides at the Oak Lawn, Illinois park district's park.

Screws were found by park district staff at Memorial Park in Oak Lawn, Illinois, according to Michael Kauffman who is the police chief of detectives in the city. The screws had been drilled into the end of playground slides from the inside. Thereby, the head of the screws protruded out of the slide to injure any child who might have gone down the slide. The park with the children’s attractions including the obstructed slides is located at 103rd Street and Major Avenue in Oak Lawn, according to a Chicago Tribune report on Thursday.

Chief Kauffman said that the screws designed to harm the children using the slide were removed from two slides in the park. He said it is apparent that there were in fact some screws that were screwed in. Though he isn’t sure, he thinks the screws may have been drywall screws that were screwed into the bottom of the slide. Naturally, children would slide over them as they would be exiting the slide and thereby be injured.

Joel Craig of the Oak Lawn Park District told ABC News that there were eight screws in one of the slides. There were two screws found in another slide at the park. Craig says that the screws were screwed into the bottom of the slides and then the heads were snapped off so that there would be a protrusion of metal to cause injury. There have been no injuries reported which leads one to believe that the screws may have been found by park district staff before anyone was injured. Yet, when speaking to WGN-TV about the incident, Kauffman said that park district had heard from someone that a small child may have been injured. That alleged incident, however, was never brought forward to the police. Official have been unable to track down the incident for confirmation.

In response to the incident, police have reportedly increased patrols in the area of the park district’s park. Police officers on bicycles are now focused on parks in the late afternoon and early evening times of day. For the future, it is best that adults supervising children at public parks do a quick examination of such playground equipment before allowing children to use them. Oak Lawn is a suburb located directly southwest of Chicago.

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