The Atascadero Police Department has launched an investigation into the destruction of a monolith on the top of Pine Mountain, Motherboard has learned.
After watching videos of a group of young men tearing the statue down previously reported on by Motherboard, a spokesperson for the city of Atascadero said authorities are planning to investigate the group further. The group can be seen destroying the statue, dragging it down the mountain, and making racist comments during the video. The town said it will be looking into the origins of the monolith itself as a part of the investigation.
“We are upset that these young men felt the need to drive 5 hours to come into our community and vandalize the Monolith,” said Atascadero mayor Heather Moreno in a statement emailed to Motherboard. “The Monolith was something unique and fun in an otherwise stressful time.”
In a phone call, a spokesperson for the city emphasized that the statue brought joy to the Californian town. They said they were sad to see it go as the monolith was a fun way to boost the spirits’ of town members during these trying times.
The monolith was taken from Stadium Park atop Pine Mountain by a group of young men early Thursday morning. They toppled the statue over and replaced it with a wooden cross. After hauling it down part of the mountain with a rope, they ditched the monolith as another group seemingly pursued the young men. No word yet on who the other group was or if the monolith has been recovered.
One of the men in the video stated that it was legal to destroy the monolith because it "doesn't belong to anybody … It was a learning experience. Nobody got arrested," they said. "It was fine because it was funny."
“At this time, neither the City nor the Atascadero Land Preservation Society have any information on how the structure found its way to the top of the mountain or who placed it there,” the city said.