UPDATE 6:20 p.m. Oct. 8:
Hoping to spur the investigation along, Riverside County supervisors today approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the culprits who damaged a statue of former President Ronald Reagan.
"We need to send a message that those that do this kind of thing -- if we can find you, we're going to prosecute you," said Supervisor Jeff Stone, who won his colleagues' unanimous support in posting the reward. "We're not going to tolerate this kind of activity."
According to county fire department arson investigators, the life-size statue of America's 40th president at the entrance to Ronald Reagan Sports Park in Temecula was set aflame on Sept. 20, causing damage to the $100,000 bronze monument.
City officials said donations poured in for repairs, some of which have already been applied.
Temecula resident Paul Jacobs, speaking against the reward, told the board the money could be better spent and suggested using it to help a three- decade-old food pantry facing a shortage of funds ahead of the holiday season, or as a reward for information leading to the identification of suspects in the murder of an area musician, Larry Robinson, who was killed during a robbery earlier this year.
"There's more concern over minor damage to a statue," Jacobs said. "Please consider doing real good rather than something that feels good."
Stone replied that he entered politics to get tough on property vandals and felt strongly that the reward was necessary for the "successful apprehension of the persons involved" in damaging the statue.
Investigators are not sure why the sculpture was targeted. There were no notes or graffiti.
In the meantime, anyone with information was urged to contact the fire department's arson hotline at (800) 633-2836.
—City News Service
ORIGINAL POST 7:47 a.m. Oct. 8:
Incensed over vandals damaging a statue of former President Ronald Reagan, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone today will ask his colleagues to support posting a $10,000 county-backed reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the culprits.
"It's despicable that someone would intentionally damage a public work of art that honors President Reagan," Stone said. "The people who would do something like this need to know, we will take unusual measures to make sure they are caught and punished."
Verne Lauritzen, who is the mayor of the City of Jurupa Valley and also serves as Stone's chief of staff, said the reason the supervisor is pushing for the reward that uses taxpayer money is because this crime was against the public.
"Many of the crimes we see committed each day are crimes against individual people and require some kind of legal action to resolve. This one was a crime against the public involving public property and would necessitate public resources to restore and many times are more difficult to resolve. Sometimes the incentive of a reward brings forward people who either have some acquaintance with the perpetrators or maybe some information about the crime," Lauritzen said.
According to county fire department arson investigators, a life-size statue of America's 40th president at the entrance to Ronald Reagan Sports Park in Temecula was set aflame on Sept. 20, causing damage to the $100,000 bronze monument.
City officials said donations have poured in for repairs, which include sandblasting the exterior to apply a new finish.
Investigators are not sure why the statue was targeted. There were no notes or graffiti.
Stone is requesting that the Board of Supervisors authorize a $10,000 reward.
In the meantime, anyone with information was urged to contact the fire department's arson hotline at (800) 633-2836. --City News Service and Toni McAllister contributed to this report.