Tony Rosati and Krystal Goins set aside discouragement, recommit to community
LANSING, Ill. (July 18, 2023) – “It’s disheartening,” said Tony Rosati, owner of Lansing Sport Shop, about the vandalism his business suffered on Sunday evening, July 16, and early Monday morning, July 17. Windows were broken, and graffiti was spray painted on his building. Rosati mentioned that he has surveillance video showing a group of 3–5 young teens likely responsible for the damage.
Krystal Goins expressed the same frustration. She has been working inside the building formerly occupied by Golden Palace, trying to bring a new restaurant experience to downtown Lansing. The vandals included her building in their Sunday-night spree as well, spraying graffiti and breaking a window. “This is another expense I wasn’t planning on,” said Goins, whose progress has been plagued by rising construction costs and unforeseen infrastructure problems. “It’s frustrating.”
Even in sharing their discouragement, Rosati and Goins were quick to voice gratitude for community members who responded quickly when they saw the vandalism in progress. Around 7:15 p.m., while it was still light out, patrons of Gayety’s Chocolates & Ice Cream — right across Ridge Road — observed youngsters throw something through the windows of Rosati’s east building and then run off. Those patrons immediately called the police.
And Goins thanked the unknown person who boarded up her broken window for her. “That was a big help,” she said. “And I don’t even know who did it.” Another witness filed a police report on her behalf.
That kind of community response is necessary, believes Rosati, for deterring “senseless” vandalism like this.
“I don’t want other kids to see what these kids have done and think that’s ok,” said Rosati. “You’re not gonna get away with that here in Lansing. You can get away with it for a while, but in the end it’s not gonna be good. Our community is gonna stand up when it happens and do everything to deter it.”
Lt. Mike Hynek, the detective who responded to the call, agreed. “If you see something, say something,” he said, encouraging citizens to share any concerns they have at any time. He pointed out that the Lansing Police Department’s non-emergency phone number — 708-895-7150 — is always answered by a live person, never voicemail, and callers can remain anonymous.
“It doesn’t hurt to call the police, even if you just have a feeling that something’s not right,” Hynek said. “You know what’s normal for your area, so if something feels off, you can call us. Even if you just need an officer to drive by the area.” Hynek said the police would much rather be involved in preventing crime than responding after violence has happened.
Hynek confirmed that the perpetrators are likely juveniles and likely local to the neighborhood, walking or biking around at various hours. “They’re just some local kids that live in the area that are turning this into a game,” he said, adding that the graffiti they left did not appear to be gang-related.
Rosati hopes that holding these kids accountable for their unnecessary actions will help teach them about responsibility and respect for their community.
Goins wondered if having more community activities specifically for the 13–18-year-old demographic might help prevent crime. She has seen kids loitering in the alcove on the south side of her building, leaving beer bottles, cigarette butts, and sometimes drug paraphernalia behind. “Their parents don’t know what they’re out here doing,” she said. “They’re just hanging around out here, bored. And then it escalates.”
Though the perpetrators are underaged, Hynek would like to see them make financial restitution for their acts of vandalism. That total has not been determined yet, but it would include the cost of cleaning or painting over the graffiti, boarding up the broken windows, and eventually replacing the windows.
Rosati says, for the time being, the visual consequences will stand. “I’m not going to replace the glass right away and have it happen again!” he explained, recognizing the impact this decision will have. “It’s tough for people to believe in shopping local when they drive by and see windows boarded up. But I can’t help that right now.”
Goins is still determining how the incident will impact her remodeling plans. Her vision was to replace the north and west wall Golden Palace windows with larger floor-to-ceiling glass, letting more light into the building and giving diners an expansive outlook on Ridge Road. She is cautious now about making that investment. If the perpetrators are identified, she wouldn’t expect them to cover the full cost of the new windows, but she did suggest some community service hours helping her with power washing and other damage mitigation.
Tuesday morning the Lansing Police Department used their Facebook page to reach out to the community with this message:
“The Lansing Police Department has taken several reports of damage to property in the area of Ridge Road and Roy Street. The offenders are presumed to be juveniles. We are asking anyone that has camera footage or information on who may be responsible for the damage to contact the Lansing Police Department Criminal Investigations Division – 708-895-7150”
Rosati is also hoping the Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce will remind the business community to be aware and continue to help each other out.
“Hopefully we can get some resolve,” said Rosati. Lansing Sport Shop has been in Lansing since 1954, when Rosati’s father started it. Tony has been working there since college, and he and his brother Phil co-own the business today.
In spite of her initial discouragement, Goins too is committed to moving forward. “This doesn’t slow me down from wanting to do business in Lansing,” she affirmed. “I woke up feeling positive today. I’m more excited than ever to get this restaurant up and running.”
“I’m hoping we can get together as a community and do something for the kids in the summer,” Goins added, “because Lansing is really beautiful.”
Community members who share this commitment are invited to contact the Lansing Police Department with any potentially relevant information:
- For emergencies, call 9-1-1
- For non-emergency situations, call 708-895-7150
The Lansing Police Department is located at 2710 170th Street in Lansing, Illinois.