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Duckbill vandals could avoid punishment even if caught

Oregon Coast

CAPE KIWANDA, Ore. (KOIN) — At first, David Kalas figured the group of people was doing what most people do when they go to Duckbill Rock. 

“I thought they were just trying to get a cool social media picture,” Kalas said. 

Instead, the group put their hands on the rock formation and pushed, toppling the Cape Kiwanda icon to the ground. Kalas caught it on video, giving the rock formation one last social media moment. And it was a viral one. The video, shared with KOIN 6 News, was shown on CBS This Morning and all over the country. 

Watch: CBS This Morning’s report on Duckbill Rock Vandalism

With it caught on video, it seemed like it wouldn’t be too long before the vandals were identified. That was two years ago Wednesday, and no one has been caught. Six months after it happened, Oregon State Police announced their leads had led nowhere.

A group of young people shown pushing over a Duckbill Rock at Cape Kiwanda. (David Kalas)

“(The detective) exhausted quite a bit of leads and interviewed people who had reported ‘knowing’ who the video was from and no solid information was obtained,” wrote Lt. Cari Boyd, when KOIN 6 News asked this week if there is an update on the investigation.

But even if someone turns themselves in, it may be too late for punishment.

The Tillamook County District Attorney’s Office told KOIN 6 News the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor is two years. But if the case was prosecuted as a felony, then the statute of limitations would be three years. 

A crime rises to a felony based on value. But how do you put a value on an ancient rock formation? Another case in the county, according to the DA’s Office, could provide guidance.

In 2010, the Cape Meares Lighthouse was pierced by multiple rounds of gunfire. The windows were handmade in France 120 years ago. The people responsible were charged wth a felony. They served a month and a half in jail and were ordered to pay $100,000. 

Vandals shot bullets into the Cape Meares Lighthouse in 2010 (Oregon State Parks)

But that’s because they were caught, unlike the people who knocked down Duckbill Rock. The effect still lingers two years later.

“The fact they went to all that effort to destroy something and leave it, it’s heartbreaking,” said Michael Kel, who witnessed the act.

Anyone with information is asked to call Oregon State Police at 800.452.7888 and reference case number SP16-308356

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