Vandal masks historic Snell Isle statues

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating graffiti painted on several historic Snell Isle statues.

Snell Isle residents found black face masks painted on a griffin bench and two marble statues of women last week at Snell Isle Park. The unknown culprit also drew a circle-A anarchy symbol on a memorial to the Snell family.

"These statues are very valuable. They have been with us a long time," said Snell Isle resident Barbara Heck, who reported the vandalism to the police. "To deface them is just terrible."

St. Petersburg Police have not made an arrest, but they have a suspect in mind, according to spokesman Mike Puetz.

He declined to comment further on the ongoing investigation but noted that it is often difficult to find such culprits because they work in the middle of the night.

"In the vast majority of these cases, they are usually teenagers," he said. "For the most part people within the 16- to 19-year-old range."

If property damage exceeds $1,000, the crime is bumped from a misdemeanor to a felony, Puetz noted.

Heck, immediate past president of the Snell Isle Property Owners Association, said the historic value of the statues will make the charge a felony. The vandalized statues of women are part of a collection called The Four Seasons, carved by an Italian artist in the early 1900s. Snell Isle has had the collection for more than 20 years.

"It's not funny. It's not cute. It's just really bad," Heck said. "We will find this person, and he or she will pay for what he or she did."

Contact Lauren Carroll at (727) 893-8913 or lcarroll@tampabay.com. Follow her on Twitter @LaurenFCarroll.

Vandal masks historic Snell Isle statues 06/11/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 5:20pm]

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