A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the vandalism of a Memorial Boulevard statue last weekend.
The Bristol Veterans Council has solicited pledges from donors to pay tipsters who can help the police track down the culprits who mauled “The Hiker,” a bronze Spanish-American War soldier that has stood guard on the boulevard since 1983, when it was donated to the city to honor World War II veterans.
Mayor Art Ward said that anyone who wishes to add to the reward fund can send checks made out to the veterans council to his office. They will be forwarded to the group, he said.
Money donated to the fund will be used for the reward or potentially for the cost of repairing and protecting the statue, officials said.
Ward said the veterans group is doing “a great big favor” by serving as a conduit for the reward cash.
If the city itself offered a reward, state open government laws would make it possible for someone to identify anyone who collects reward money, officials said.
But the veterans council can pay out the cash anonymously so that tracing the tipster would be impossible, Ward said.
Pat Nelligan, a parks commissioner who heads the veterans council, said the group is seeking pledges for the reward money rather than collecting cash. He said it already has $1,000 in pledges rounded up.
Ward said he got a $25 check at his office today to add to the total.
The mayor said he hopes that when the police catch the vandals who did more than $15,000 in damage to the statue that it will turn out that adults were responsible.
That way, he said, the court proceedings against them will be public and people can make sure that a harsh sentence is imposed.
In recent years, police have caught vandals involved in several high-profile cases, but they have been minors whose identities were kept secret and whose punishments by a juvenile court are unknown.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at email@example.com