Police make two arrests in lion vandalism

Public Information Officer Mark Samson reported to Historic City News that the St. Augustine Police Department has made two arrests and closed their investigation into this week’s vandalism of the marble lion statutes at the west end of the Bridge of Lions.

Chief Loran Lueders expressed his gratitude to the citizens of St. Augustine for coming forward with information that helped solve this case.

Corporal Charles Simpson and Investigator Cecilia Aiple, acting on a citizen tip, contacted 18 year-old Montezz Lamont Blackmon who lives at 19 Phillips Street in St. Augustine and confronted him with the evidence they had collected.

Blackmon confessed to investigators that he participated in the vandalism of the lion.

A fifteen year-old girl, who is visiting from California, admits to having the paint, but denies any involvement with painting the lion. Her identity is being withheld due to her age.

Both teenagers were arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief — Blackmon will appear before a judge for a bond hearing in the morning; he remains in custody until that time.

Joe Segal has been working on the lion for three days trying to restore the lion to its condition before the vandalism. Mr. Segal was one of the members of the restoration team that repaired and sealed the lions while the bridge was under construction.

Jim Piggott, General Services Director with the City of St. Augustine has estimated $500.00 for the clean-up.

Anyone with any information concerning this or other crimes in St. Augustine or who may know the identity of those involved is asked to contact detectives with the St. Augustine Police Department at (904) 209-3482. You can remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a cash reward by calling CrimeStoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-(888) 277-TIPS.

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