Two Mercer University undergraduate students have been charged with vandalizing one of Macon Art Alliance’s fiberglass bear statues. The statue was located in Tattnall Square Park and painted by local artist Connie Redd.
The two students were booked into the Bibb County Jail, but later bonded out.
The bear was vandalized to a point beyond repair and was located at the corner of Coleman Avenue and Adams Street.
According to a recent report by the Macon Telegraph, Jordan Luke McMahan and Chris Anthony Santiago have been charged with criminal damage to property and theft by taking.
The alleged offense occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning on Halloween weekend.
The estimated value of the fiberglass bear was between $3,500 and $4,000, which makes the charge of theft by taking a felony offense.
According to the Macon Police Department’s report, a Mercer police officer observed the two suspects kicking the bear statue down the street after it was detached from the base. He then detained the suspects and the Macon Police Department was contacted to further investigate.
Not only will the two suspects face charges if convicted, but they will also receive University reprimands.
Larry Brumley, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Chief of Staff, said, “The students involved will go through the normal student judicial process, in addition to any consequences they face from local law enforcement.”
In a statement released by the University, officials reported that they were “embarrassed and disappointed that Mercer students engaged in such thoughtless and destructive behavior.”
The University offered apologies to the Macon Arts Alliance, as well as the local artist who painted the bear. While art cannot be replaced, the University stated they would work with the Alliance to help recreate the vandalized statue.
The vandalized bear is one of six statues placed throughout Macon as part of the Mercer Bear Trail. Each bear was painted by a different local artist.
The bears were purchased with a $15,000 grant that was funded by the Knight Neighborhood Challenge.
The Macon Arts Alliance is currently working to find a solution for replacing the bear. The statue is expected to be replaced by another in the same location and to be painted by Redd.
Tatnall Park Bear statue vandalized