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Vandals ransack Columbia Falls wrestling academy over weekend

by CHRIS PETERSON
Hungry Horse News | May 1, 2024 12:00 AM

Vandals struck the Boys and Girls Club and the Ruis Wrestling Academy over the weekend, doing thousands of dollars in damage.

They broke windows and cameras and stole weights from the weight room and as well as several fire extinguishers. They also sprayed about $75,000 of new wrestling mats with fire retardant, said Kyle Rosenbaum of Ruis Rentals.

Rosenbaum said the vandalism happened sometime over the weekend. The building was secured on Friday.

The biggest headache is cleaning up the powder off of the wrestling mats from the fire extinguishers. Vandals not only sprayed the mats, they also stole the extinguishers and stole all the 10-pound weights out of the weight room.

The Ruis Wrestling Academy is a nonprofit academy for youths in Columbia Falls.

Rosenbaum grew up in Columbia Falls and was disheartened by the sight.

“The lack of common courtesy and sense of community is disturbing,” he said.

They are working toward an improved security system for the property, Rosenbaum noted.

Owner Mick Ruis is planning to donate the property to a nonprofit that will, in turn, rent it back to the Boys and Girls Club for $1 a year. There is also hope to put a daycare in the lower level of the former school.

Contractors have begun renovating the floors for the Boys and Girls Club, which has already moved into the building.

The vandalism was reported to Columbia Falls Police. Anyone with leads is asked to call them at 406-892-3235.