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Vandals ransack neighborhood

Reward offered for information on damage to WWII veteran’s flag and pole, eagle sculpture, mailboxes

Vandals ransack neighborhood

Vandals ransack neighborhood

Police are offering a $500 reward for information about a rash of vandalism incidents Friday night and Saturday morning, in which several residents reported property damage, including the report of the destruction of a unique, one-of-a-kind eagle sculpture on display at a Gentilly Road business.

Detectives are currently investigating several incidents reported Saturday involving damage to property in the area of Gentilly Road, Holly Drive and North and South Edgewood Drive, Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner said in a news release issued Monday.

"Advanced Patrol Officer Justin Gawthrop responded to a complainant on South Edgewood Drive whose mailbox had been damaged (and) took a report for the damage," he said.

Gawthrop then checked other homes in the neighborhood, finding several similar incidents.

After hearing from 13 people complaining of vandalism, police learned the suspects responsible left in their wake a trail of battered mailboxes, damaged signs and lighting, and a flag and pole ripped from the yard of a World War II veteran, Turner said.

"The most costly damage was the destruction of the ceramic eagle in front of Howard Lumber" Company, he said.

The eagle sculpture was one of several designed by local artists and auctioned as a fundraiser, called Eagle Nation on Parade, to support scholarships to Georgia Southern University. Others, each unique in design, are located throughout the city.

John Dasher, with Howard Lumber, was not available Monday for comment.

"Another victim, Leland Riggs, a World War II Veteran, had an American flag and flagpole that was pulled up from his front yard and damaged," Turner said. "Six mailboxes were damaged, as well as two vehicles and one road sign. Martin Chiropractor and Wall Orthodontics found damage to lighting fixtures. One city street sign was damaged."

Riggs was angry when he discovered the damage. Sometime between 11 p.m. Friday and 2 a.m. Sunday, vandals broke his lighted flagpole off at the ground and then snapped it in two. A neighbor's son coming home around 2 a.m. found the flag wrapped around his family's mailbox, Riggs said.

"It was a 20-foot pole with a solar light, buried 2 feet in the ground," he said. "I feel terrible about it. Sure, it made me angry. I'd be proud if they found them and made them pay for what they did."

Local Boy Scouts, led by Statesboro attorney Lovett Bennett Jr., have offered to replace the flag, Riggs said.

Turner said the $500 reward is offered "for information leading to the arrest of the person (or persons) responsible for these incidents."

Property damage was reported on Gentilly Road at Howard Lumber (eagle statue), Martin Chiropractic (lighting fixtures), Wall Orthodontics (lighting fixtures), and Gentilly Gardens (mailbox and flower bed).

On North Edgewood Drive, vandals destroyed Riggs' flag and pole. On South Edgewood Drive, property damaged included three mailboxes. Residents of Holly Drive reported a Mercedes side mirror and hood ornament damaged, a Nissan side mirror and two mailboxes damaged. A street sign was taken down at Forest Way and South Edgewood Drive, Turner said.

Anyone with information concerning this case is asked to contact the Statesboro Police Department at (912) 764-9911. Anonymous tips may be submitted online at or by sending a text message beginning with "TIPSSPD" to 274637 (CRIMES). All information is strictly confidential, Turner said.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.


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