Vandalism rampage destroys local property

Photo courtesy of: Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art

Tannis Kufner

Vandals left a trail of destruction this past weekend spanning from Holly Drive off of South Edgewood Road ending at Howard Lumber Company on Gentilly Road.

According to police reports, 15 counts of criminal trespassing and one count of criminal damage to property in the second degree occurred from Friday night to Saturday morning.

A ceramic eagle, light fixtures, mailboxes, cars and street signs are among items damaged, according to police reports.

“We got a call at about eight thirty a.m. Saturday morning from somebody talking about the eagle out front of the shop being beat up. We head over and found the thing in pieces,” Jon Dasher, general manager of Howard Lumber Company, said.

The statue is a part of the Eagle Nation on Parade public art project, according to the Eagle Nation on Parade website.

Howard Lumber Company has cameras surrounding the building but they were not in range of the eagle statue to see any of the perpetrators, Dasher said.

“The school was great and very responsive. The university picked it up off our property that morning and is looking to see if it can be repaired so we can possibly set it up again,” Dasher said.

“The reality is the statue belongs to Howard Lumber Company, whoever did this is destroying their property,” Cinnamon Dowd, communications & outreach coordinator for the Department of Art, said.

“The structural integrity of the of the statue is completely gone. There’s no real way of fixing that in a reasonable manner,” Stephanie Neal, administrative specialist for the Department of Art, said.

The statue weighed approximately seven hundred pounds in total, Dowd said.

“This is the first time anything like this has happened to us having to do with any of the eagles around Statesboro, “Dowd said. “I don’t really understand why someone would be motivated to do this.”

Each individual piece of this particular statue was made by hand and took months to complete, Dowd said.

The base cost of the statue is three thousand-five hundred, this doesn’t include artist commission, time spent making it, materials or installation, Neal said.

“This person or group of people have not only destroyed months of an artist’s time, they’ve also destroyed multiple people’s property and hurt the reputation of the scholarship the eagle represents,” Neal said.

According to police reports, the total of reported damages is $5,375 so far. This total does not include three damaged mailboxes, two broken car mirrors and one knocked over street sign.

William Price and Red Denty contributed to this report.