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13-year-old boy charged with defacing statues in Grant Park

Eighteen 26 statues were hit by vandals Grant Park. / Phofrom Grant Park Conservancy.

Eighteen of the 26 statues were hit by vandals in Grant Park. / Photo from Grant Park Conservancy.

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A 13-year-old boy was charged Monday with defacing 18 of the 26 faceless, life-size human statues in Grant Park over the weekend.

The boy faces one count of felony criminal damage to property; one count of criminal damage to government property; possession of paint with intent to deface; possession of spray paint by an underage person, police said.

“I’m surprised he was so young, but I knew they were going to get this guy,” said Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy. “There was too much pressure on this one.”

The statues have been on display since August and were defaced with graffiti for the first time on Saturday, O’Neill said. The graffiti has been removed.

O’Neill said that each statue was spray-painted with similar lettering.

“What these taggers don’t realize is that it is a lot easier to get caught,” O’Neill said. “Police can look up the graffiti through a database and match it to a person.

“It cost a lot to bring art here,” he added. “Each piece had to be shipped across the country”

Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottie created the faceless statues in the exhibit, titled “Borders,” which are on display at Grant Park until October near Michigan Avenue and East Jackson Drive. They previously were on display in New York and Dallas and are due to move on to Detroit next.

“Why should taxpayers pay for removing the graffiti?” O’Neill said. “I hope this kid’s parents pay. Or he pays. Maybe through some sort of community service.”

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