As if it weren’t bad enough that fanatics posing as Islamic purists are demolishing and desecrating cultural relics in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, vandals in Palm Coast are aping the same disregard for public art.
Sometime in the night of July 9, a group of five teen-looking walkers were caught on surveillance video smashing a small replica of the famed Greek Venus de Milo, on display at the entrance to European Village. The statue will cost $3,500 to replace, according to Mark Pierro, who reported the vandalism to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office mid-month.
Pierro told deputies that he checked European Village’s surveillance cameras and saw five suspects (one female, four males) enter the courtyard at 12:02am. The suspects walked over to the water fountain at the center of the interior courtyard. One of the five sat there while the others “messed around with bikes that were not secured to the bike rack,” the report on the incident states. The five then left European Village at 12:12 a.m.
“As the male suspects walked past the statue they began to push it as the female continued to walk towards Palm Harbor Parkway,” the incident report states. “The statue then fell over causing its head and arms to break. The suspects then ran towards Palm Harbor
Parkway out of the camera’s view.”
The suspects are a white female approximately 5’5 120 pounds with dark hair wearing dark shorts and a white shirts, a white male approximately 5’7 160 pounds wearing a dark shirt and light colored pants with a thick necklace around his neck, a black male approximately 5’10 160 pounds, wearing a dark hat, a multi colored tank top and dark shorts, a black male approximately 5’8 150
pounds wearing a dark shirt and shorts, and a Hispanic or light colored black male approximately 5’7 160 pounds, wearing a dark shirt and light colored shorts.
All suspects appeared to be in their late teens or early twenties. When the investigation was conducted on July 17 the deputy was not able to have a copy of the surveillance video but it was subsequently made available.
“I was not able to identify the suspects,” the investigating deputy noted in the incident report. “No evidence was collected because of the delay in making the report and the damaged has already been cleaned up. Mark also advised he has not found the head to the statue.”
The destruction of the Venus de Milo at European Village falls more in the category of the destruction of property than the destruction of art–the small statue being an often-reproduced replica–but the crime is nevertheless an unsettling if very distant echo of a the wanton, ongoing disregard and destruction of cultural heritages such as those carried out by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria currently.
Such vandalism is rare in Palm Coast, but not unheard of. In April 2012, a Madonna and Child statue at Mother Seton Catholic Church on Belle Terre Parkway was smashed up.
Anyone with information on the European Village incident is urged to contact Deputy Daniel Parthemore at 386-313-4911 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477). You can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.