Toronto war memorial vandals caught on video
Four suspects were caught on camera vandalizing a war memorial in front of a Toronto school, the principal said Monday after the cenotaph was damaged ahead of Remembrance Day for the second straight year.
Toronto District School Board officials said four young men vandalized a First World War memorial in front of Malvern Collegiate, near Gerrard Street East and Main Street, on Sunday.
The head of the statue was covered in blue duct tape and it appears someone had been jumping on the statue. A woman who lives near the school noticed the damage and called police.
Principal Line Pinard said surveillance video captured four young men approach the school and spend about 15 minutes defacing the statue.
Pinard told a press conference on Monday that one person could be seen hanging from the statue's arm and others could be seen laughing and taking pictures on their cell phones.
"I have to tell you that what took place on the weekend is absolutely devastating to many of us. I am appalled at what happened," she said.
Pinard said police have the video footage and are investigating. Fingerprints taken from the duct tape are also being studied.
Pinard said there appeared to be a plan; at one point one of the men returned to a car parked nearby to retrieve supplies, including the blue duct tape used to deface the statue.
She said a passing parent was so outraged by the vandalism that he returned with a ladder and cleaned the duct tape off the statue Sunday afternoon. The memorial is still covered with a gooey residue left by the adhesive.
Three specially-made letters were removed from the monument's dedication and left broken nearby. Replacing the dedication will cost an estimated $2,000, said Fran Perkins, a member of the restoration committee.
"For me there is a certain arrogant contempt for the community when these young men could come and with such casual consideration decide what they were going to do, do it and then take pictures of themselves defacing the monument," Perkins said.
The statue was also damaged in the week leading up to Remembrance Day last year. A hand from the statue was smashed off and found lying nearby.
The statue, a man holding chains in one hand and a sword in the other, had been restored and a rededication ceremony had been held last week.
Pinard said video surveillance from this weekend's vandalism shows one of the people involved trying to pull the hand off again.
She said that the statue has been vandalized several times over the past decade.
"It had been painted, it had been egged. Rival schools had put their school clothing around it."