by Pete Mazzaccaro

Last Thursday night, vandals torched a crane and used an acetylene torch to cut into a steal beam at the construction site of the new Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House, causing approximately $500,000 in damages.

Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting began building the new meeting house on property it purchased on E. Mermaid Lane in May of last year. The contractor, Rob Reeves, had recently erected steel framing at part of the structure.

Meg Mitchell, clerk of the meeting, said police were still investigating the crime and that the project manager believes the steel beam that was damaged with a torch can be repaired rather than replaced.

“We are grateful to our neighbors who were interviewed by the police, and to the police and fire departments.”

Reeves told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he believed the vandalism was cased by union “bullies.”

“This is pure and simple bullying, and most likely it was the unions,” Reeves said. “This is the usual bad behavior of bullies that have been tolerated in this city forever. The politicians don’t care, the police don’t care, the business community doesn’t care.”

Mitchell said Reeves would increase security at the site.