Vandals show no mercy for clown statues

Published: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
SARASOTA - A clown statue was beheaded Saturday night in downtown Sarasota, and another one was broken off at the feet.
It was the latest of a handful of instances of vandalism to a public art project that brought nearly 50 clown statues to downtown streets.
"I don't understand why this vicious damage is being done," said Kristine Nickel of TideWell Hospice and Palliative Care, which is sponsoring the exhibit. "We're very, very upset about it."
Last week, police began looking out for the clowns after the first instances of vandalism were reported. One clown statue was knocked over, and its arm was broken off.
The clowns will be on display until April, when they will be auctioned off to benefit a hospice program for children with terminal illnesses.
Nickel said Monday that private security has been hired to help guard the clowns, but the guards had not started work yet. She also met with merchants who have volunteered to be on the lookout.
The clown whose head was broken off was called Justice B. Dunne, a judicial clown sponsored by a law firm, Nickel said. Police retrieved its head, which was found nearby.
"I understand it was a pretty clean break, and it can be repaired," she said.
The other damaged clown looked like Fred Astaire, Nickel said. It was standing outside the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre.

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