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ARLINGTON It's a strange and disturbing little scene: A headless dragon in a city park.

Oh my God, what happened? said Paula Thomas as she walked into the playground at Allan Saxe Park in southwest Arlington with her children, nine-year-old Jaron and 13-year-old Taylor.

I don't know what to think; that's not good at all, she said.

Jaron and Taylor have climbed all over Nessie. She was a favorite piece of playground equipment.

But vandals struck the night of June 12. In essence, they slashed Nessie's throat and stole her head.

Park District Supervisor Scott DeGrant got word early the next morning.

I was like, 'What are you talking about?' It's not something you hear every day in the office, he said. They used some sort of mechanical tool, and it's our theory that a teenager or some child or someone has it in their basement or bedroom or closet as a souvenir.

They know that this is most likely a silly teenage prank, but it could take $5,000 for repairs. The parks department and police are investigating.

DeGrant said early summer, spring break, and any time kids get out of school, they see an uptick in vandalism.

It's vandalism, it is criminal mischief, it is damage to city property, DeGrant said.

The playground at the park was updated and renovated in 2008. That's when Nessie was installed.

There are no surveillance cameras, so neighbors are being questioned to see if anybody saw a car or heard commotion. Anyone with a tip should contact Arlington Police at 817-274-4444.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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