Public Information Officer Mark Samson reported to Historic City News that, this morning, the St. Augustine Police Department was called to the west end of the Bridge of Lions where one of the 84 year-old lion statues was the victim of vandalism last night.
According to police, someone spray painted the eyes and nose of one of the lions causing a yet unknown amount of damage.
By 9:00 a.m., St. Augustine workers were on the scene, removing the spray paint before the sun had an opportunity to bake the stain into the marble.
When the City removed the lions on February 17, 2005 to accommodate bridge reconstruction, they contracted Enzo Torcoletti and Joe Segal, of St. Augustine’s Moultrie Creek Studios, to take advantage of the controlled storage environment to have the lions restored.
Restoration costs were defrayed with the assistance of a grant of $40,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation.
The lions were a gift in 1926 to the city from Dr. Andrew Anderson, a native of St. Augustine who became a close friend of Henry Flagler and served as the city’s mayor in 1886.
Anyone with any information concerning this crime 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.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph by St. Augustine Police