SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco police and park rangers are investigating the vandalism of two Spanish statues around Lake Merced in San Francisco. Red paint and the words "colonizer" and "this is stolen land" were found covering the art pieces that depict Spanish explorer Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and Carlos III of Spain.
The discovery was made Thanksgiving Day, police said. The statues are located at the end of two parking lots surrounding the lake. Longtime residents said, in the 20 years they've been in the area, they've never seen anything like this.
"I think it's uncalled for. We're not here to destroy the statue and the land. We all have our personal feelings, but this is not the way to express your feelings," Barbara Johnson said.
This vandalism comes weeks after the Christopher Columbus statue near Coit Tower was also found with red paint on Columbus Day. The San Francisco Art Commission, which oversees the statues, said police haven't linked the two cases or made any arrests.
"We do see an uptick in these kinds of vandalism cases when the political climate is uneasy," said Allison Cummings. Cummings is the senior registrar for San Francisco's civic art collection. "We do not condone this kind of activity."
Cummings said the art commission will dispatch clean-up crews next week. Depending on the cost of damage to the art pieces, the vandals could face felony charges.
San Francisco police said they are actively seeking to identify the suspect or suspects. Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact SFPD.