WINTHROP — The mobile lunch wagon that is usually parked across from American Legion Post 40 and next to the town beach was vandalized late Wednesday night, say volunteers who run the small canteen and spend its proceeds on efforts supporting local veterans.

When Tina Bowden, one the facility’s managers, arrived at the wagon Thursday morning, she found that vandals had come at some point during the previous night and used human feces to write a crude message on the wagon, she said.

The words “Serving all veterans of all wars” are already painted on the front of the lunch wagon, but Bowden said the vandals used feces to write an expletive before “veterans” and the words “you die” after it.

The vandals also left trash lying around the wagon, tampered with a picnic table that sits next to it and unplugged the extension cord that provides the wagon’s electricity, leaving more than $100 worth of frozen and refrigerated food to spoil over the next few hours, Bowden added.

On Friday morning, Bowden and John Brennan, a Gulf War veteran who also oversees the lunch wagon, were both still appalled by the scene they encountered a day earlier.

“It’s taking from the veterans that angers me,” said Bowden. “They wrote with feces on there. That’s very disrespectful.”

“I would assume punk kids did it, but I don’t know,” Brennan added.

Bowden is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, an organization comprised of women who support the efforts of American veterans. All profits from the wagon support the group’s year-round initiatives, including the preparation of turkey dinners for veterans around Thanksgiving and the donation of supplies to benefit local kids.

The organization is affiliated with American Legion Post 40 and the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) unit, both of which are housed across the road at 117 Bowdoin St.

On Thursday, Bowden said she cleaned the site and reported the incident to police, while Brennan spent $25 to secure the electrical outlet that sends power to the wagon. He noted that while the wholesale value of food losses was about $150, sales of the prepared food would have generated three- or four-times that amount in revenue.

The nuts and bolts on the picnic table there also seemed loose and out-of-alignment on Thursday, Brennan said, so it was replaced with another belonging to the American Legion Post.

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that a disturbance has been reported at the town beach.

After receiving a spike in complaints about people smoking, fighting and breaking other local rules, the Winthrop Police Department has been considering sending extra patrols to the lake front. Chief Ryan Frost will speak with the Town Council about that issue at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday evening.

A gaggle of geese also took up residence on the town waterfront early this summer, creating a nuisance for beach users. The town has hired a pest service to spray repellent at the beach and on nearby Norcross Point.

But while police did take a report about the recent vandalism on Thursday, Sgt. John Hall said there is little for the department to investigate, because the mess was cleaned up by the time they arrived.

Brennan, who is also active in the American Legion Post, said the organization has a security camera trained on a utility pole about 20 feet from the lunch wagon, but the perpetrators could not be seen in any of the footage collected overnight Wednesday. The organization is now considering adding additional security cameras.

Brennan spoke with several residents who reported other disturbances around town Wednesday evening, including vandals who left scrap metal strewn about Norcross Point and drove in donuts in the parking lot there, but Hall said the police had not received any other complaints on Thursday.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

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Twitter: @ceichacker