Councillor warns mural vandals face prosecution
SUNSHINE Coast councillor Jason O'Pray did not mince his words when sending a message to those who defaced the iconic mural of Old Woman Island on a shed near the Sunshine Mwy at Pacific Paradise.
"Make no mistake, the council will prosecute these people to the highest extent of the law for trespassing, wilful damage to property and vandalism," he said.
The council is set to install security cameras equipped with movement sensors and solar lighting on the site, owned by the Sunshine Coast Airport, within the week.
The mural, which was originally painted in 2001 by former Sunshine Coast artist Owen Cavanagh, was only restored last month following a similar graffiti attack. It had previously remained untouched for 14 years.
Although the move to install security measures came too late to stop the latest attack, Cr O'Pray hoped the cameras and lighting would deter any would-be offenders from trying it again.
"I personally rang Owen (Saturday) morning to speak to him about it and he's already said he would come down to re-do it again," he said.
"What an amazing man. The last time he came down, (from Gladstone) he rolled his car and had a crash but still continues and yet he's copped this (graffiti) again."
Cr O'Pray was left momentarily speechless when asked to describe how he felt when he found out about the Friday night attack on the mural.
"Everyone I know is devastated about it," he said.
"The key words that keep coming up are disappointing and disrespectful."
The vandalism has been reported to police and forensic photographers had been on site to capture images which Cr O'Pray had been advised would be run through the Brisbane City Council's graffiti register to uncover any possible links.
"We are really calling on the public now for help," Cr O'Pray said.
"Firstly, we need to get any information on this to Crime Stoppers, which you can do anonymously.
"Secondly, let's not give these guys what they want.
"They want notoriety and they want people to see their images in the paper and on Facebook and we're just feeding them by doing that so by all means, share the pictures and get the message out there, but blur their words and let's not give these grubs what they want."
Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 with any information.
IF YOU deface property with graffiti you can be charged with wilful damage which is punishable with five years in prison.
It is also an offence to possess an aerosol spray, marker or other instrument which is being used for graffiti, is suspected of having been used for graffiti or may be about to be used for graffiti.
This carries a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units ($2277) or one year in prison.
Source: Queensland Government