Posted: Oct 31, 2013 7:47 AM by MTN News
Updated: Oct 31, 2013 8:10 AM
POMPEYS PILLAR - Despite multiple signs, warnings and video cameras, someone climbed over a boardwalk railing at Pompeys Pillar to etch new names in the National monument.
Just about three feet from the famous July 25, 1806 signature of Captain William Clark a fresh signature, including a heart and the date, can now be seen carved in the sandstone.
The carving: Cole + Shepresa 10/10/2013 was allegedly etched there on October 10, 2013.
Friends of Pompeys Pillar Executive Director Jonathan Peart says, "This belongs to all of us. To you, to me to every American out there. And to deface this is just a senseless act of vandalism and violence to something that has historical and cultural importance."
Peart went on to say a man visiting from Minnesota, with his new wife, has admitted to the crime.
Even though the monument is shut down to vehicle traffic at this time of year, it is open to walk-in visitors 365 days a year.
Peart said a silent alarm brought deputies to the monument that day. They questioned and took names from a man and a woman as they left the area, but it wasn't until a week later when an employee checking the grounds noticed the vandalism.
Peart said it didn't take long for authorities to review surveillance video and come up with a suspect. "These National treasures should be treated with respect and those who don't need to be punished," said Peart.
The Bureau of Land Management is now investigating the crime. No suspect has been named, but Peart says the vandalism is a federal crime.
For those wondering about all of the other names, historical or not, etched in the stone at Pompey's Pillar, Peart says they were all put there before Pompeys Pillar fell under federal protection in 1992.
The Friends of Pompey's Pillar believe it will cost between $4,000 to $5,000 to remove the graffiti. Peart says the BLM does not have those funds in its budget, and it is a cost we should not have to pay to bring the monument back to a place it was on the ninth of October.
To make donations to Pompeys you can call 406-969-5380 or send donations to:
Friends of Pompeys Pillar
1523 14th Street West, Suite 2
Billings, MT 59012
You can also check out the website at www.pompeyspillar.org.