A public fishing pier in Dale will be closed indefinitely after its chain-link fence and safety rails were destroyed.
Sometime within the past month, vandals or thieves struck the Wimbee Creek Fishing Pier on Wimbee Landing Road, and it is now unsafe, Beaufort County public works director Eddie Bellamy said.
"They tore down about 100 feet of chain-link fence on one side and 60 feet on the other," Bellamy said. "They also took the handrail apart in some places. We hate to close it, but it's just not safe for people to be out there."
Beaufort County sheriff's deputies were expected to travel to the pier today to assess the damage and begin their investigation, Bellamy said.
"At this point, we're not sure whether this is purely vandalism or whether this is theft," Bellamy said, noting a recent rash of crimes targeting air-conditioning units and other items containing copper and other valuable metals.
Bellamy said there's no schedule for reopening the pier.
"The fishing out there is pretty good at certain times of year and at certain tides, and we want to get it open as soon as we can," Bellamy said. "We just have to figure out how much it's going to cost to repair and where that money is going to come from. The budget is pretty tight."