NEWPORT BEACH — A $5,000 reward was proposed Tuesday night to help catch anyone responsible for vandalizing the city’s Ronald Reagan statue over the weekend.
During the City Council meeting, Councilman Keith Curry asked the city manager and police chief to organize the reward. It would be given for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandal or vandals, Curry proposed.
Curry was a leader in the effort to commission the bronze artwork and worked in the Reagan administration.
The life-size statue in Bonita Canyon Sports Park was yanked partially off its base early Sunday by a suspect using a rope attached to a tan pickup truck, according to police. Officials do not know if the suspect was trying to steal the statue or just deface it.
“No matter your political beliefs, we as a community stand together in condemning this senseless vandalism,” Curry said.
Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said she didn’t support using public funds for the reward.
“I’m uncomfortable with the reward, simply because we have so many crimes in the city and we don’t offer rewards,” Gardner said.
In response, Curry said he would donate half of the amount from his campaign fund. Mayor Mike Henn said he would donate some as well. With their contributions, Henn said the city may not need to contribute from its general fund.
Some in the audience said they thought a reward is a good idea.
“Ronnie was my favorite, and I’m glad to see you taking an aggressive stance,” said Kelly Sawyer, who came to the meeting to protest pet stores in the city.
Erle Halliburton, who came to defend a Corona del Mar pet store, said he would be willing to donate money for the reward as well.