UPDATE: Vandalism to Jacksonville's Freedom Fountain could cost $10,000

Published: May. 24, 2018 at 4:09 PM EDT
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In an update from Jacksonville City Officials, an investigation into who vandalized the city's Freedom Fountain is still underway, but they now have a better picture of the extent of the damage.

Jacksonville City Manager Richard Woodruff says that damage was done to the wiring of 39 of the fountain's 50 lighting components.

He said in order for someone to do that kind of damage to the fountain, they would have needed to intentionally climb inside the fountain's inner basin and pull on the wires, which are submerged below 3.5 feet of water.

Woodruff also said that the city has put in a request for repair parts, which he estimates could cost the city in excess of $10,000, adding, however, "It is the city's full intention to recover all of our cost. It is also our intention to see this person goes to jail. Doing this is simply not acceptable."

Repairs could take weeks to complete and will require the draining of the fountain. No exact timeline for those repairs has been put out, but Woodruff said they would like to begin as early as next week.

The water jets on the fountain will still be operational for the Memorial Day weekend, but the fountain's lighting features will not be operational.

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Vandals have caused significant damage to a downtown landmark in one Eastern Carolina city.

Jacksonville police are investigating damage done to the city's Freedom Fountain at Johnson Boulevard and New Bridge Street, just down from city hall.

The city says they discovered Thursday morning that almost all of the underwater lights have been broken and much of the wiring has been pulled from the upper basin of the fountain.

Because of the damage, the fountain is not operating and will be out of service for some time, according to a city spokesman.

The damage, in a city with two Marine installations, comes in advance of the Memorial Day Weekend.

The city says this is the first case of significant vandalism to the fountain since it was dedicated in November 2012.

They are still evaluating the cost to repair the damage.