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Heceta Head Lighthouse on Oregon Coast Vandalized, Tagged; Suspect Photos

Published 06/20/23 at 10:21 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

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(Florence, Oregon) – Oregon State Police (OSP) late Tuesday released suspect photos of an attempted break-in at one of the Oregon coast's most famous lighthouses, after Heceta Head was tagged with graffiti and vandalized on June 14.

OSP is asking the public to help identify the group of young people seen here.

What OPS called acts of “criminal mischief” were reported on June 15 at 11: 43 a.m., with the incident occurring the prior day at 8:43 p.m., according to the surveillance footage at the Oregon coast landmark. The suspects tried to break into the Heceta Head Lighthouse and damaged nearby property.

Four individuals were seen on camera approaching the 129-year-old lighthouse, one of which was carrying a spray can. Two suspects broke a window on the lighthouse and tried to get inside – which counts as attempted burglary. See history of Heceta Head Lighthouse

“As a result of this incident, one of the associated lighthouse buildings was vandalized with spray paint, and signage along the trail from the parking lot to the lighthouse was also affected,” OSP said.

Another person walking towards the Heceta Head Lighthouse caused the four to flee the area. It's unclear at this time if that person confronted them or the suspects were simply spooked.

Oregon State Parks Ranger Burke Martin told OSP he had estimated the damage will cost between $10,000 to $20,000 to repair. OSP said the site is iconic in Oregon's history and they are working hard to ensure it remains untouched.

OSP is still investigating the incident and asked for the public's help in identification of the four youth in the video.

If you have information relating to this crime or know the individuals, you are urged to contact Oregon State Police Dispatch Center at *OSP (*677) from a mobile phone or 800-442-0776. Reference case # SP23-178524.

“We appreciate the cooperation and support of the community in assisting us with this ongoing investigation,” OSP said on social media.

The group which oversees some maintenance of the Heceta Head area, Keepers of Heceta Head Lightstation, has so far not revealed anything about the crime.

The last time an Oregon coast lighthouse saw major damage caused by humans was 2010, when the Cape Meares Lighthouse near Oceanside was riddled with bullets, and the lawn area was torn up by the pair driving their truck over it many times. The lighthouse's Fresnel lens, over 100 years old, was severely damaged. Total price of restoration there was about half a million dollars before it was over.

It took several years for the Cape Meares Lighthouse to get back to normal.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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