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WHITING — Police arrested two 15-year-old boys Monday on allegations they broke windows and glass at the future Mascot Hall of Fame, spray-painted graffiti and removed the nozzles from paint cans, causing them to spew blue paint on the floors, police said.

The damage was extensive and affected all three floors of the building, which is under construction at the intersection of 119th and Front streets, Police Chief Steve Miller said.

Whiting detectives identified the boys as suspects after reviewing surveillance video from the construction site, he said.

Police were dispatched about 6:45 a.m. Monday after a project manager called 911 to report a break-in with property damage.

The project manager led the officer to a broken-out double-pane window next to the east entrance and pointed out footprints and spray paint cans scattered on the floor, a police report stated.

Inside, officers found a busted spray-paint can with blue paint around it that appeared to be fresh. Walls and windows had been spray-painted with a similar color, and glass panels on the second floor were shattered.

The vandals set off fire extinguishers and left more leaking spray-paint cans scattered on the floor, police said. Some of the graffiti messages were obscene.

Police swept the building but didn't find anyone inside. No property was taken, Miller said.

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The 15-year-olds were taken to the Lake County Juvenile Center on charges of delinquent criminal trespass and delinquent criminal mischief, he said.

One of the boys is lives in the Robertsdale neighborhood in Hammond. The other has ties to Whiting but was determined to be a runaway from Illinois, which resulted in an additional charge, he said.

Police declined to identify the suspects because of their age.

The exterior of the 25,000-square-foot building and furnishings are being paid for through an $8.5 million bond issue authorized in 2016 by the Whiting Redevelopment Commission. The bonds are to be paid off from tax increment financing revenue created by the district that includes the Hall of Fame.

The Whiting Redevelopment Commission in February approved a bond issuance in an amount not to exceed $5 million to help pay for the fabrication and installation of exhibits. The city anticipates the bonds will be repaid over time with Hall of Fame revenues.

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