Vandals target new lifeguard statue in Ocean Beach - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Vandals target new lifeguard statue in Ocean Beach

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A bronze lifeguard statue dedicated just last week has been vandalized.

The sculpture is supposed to honor San Diego lifeguards. The memorial is the first part of a larger renovation program.

Neighbors are disgusted over what's happened.

Unlike the statue known as the Cardiff Kook that gets dressed up for fun, this lifeguard statue memorializes 13 soldiers and sailors who drowned off the coast in 1913. That's why locals say Friday's paint job is no laughing matter.

San Diego reseident Ron Keefer woke up Friday and heard someone had dumped paint over the head of the new statue.

"Don't touch the lifeguard, I mean just don't do it. That is wrong," he said.

He rushed down to the beach with rags and solvent, hoping to clean the statue up, but someone already beat him to the job.

"You shouldn't mess with it. This took five years in the making. It's artwork, and somebody comes down here and vandalizes like that," Keefer said.

Erected just last week, the $50,000 project was paid for with city funding and private donations.

Kathy Blavatt from the Ocean Beach Historical Board wanted the statue to be installed on the top of the lifeguard building to protect it from vandals.

"I wish they would have put it up there on top so it would be harder for people to get to, because it's a target around here unfortunately. It's a beautiful statue and it's a shame," Blavatt said.

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