Time is running out to punish Duckbill Rock vandals

Oregon Coast

The Duckbill Rock was destroyed on August 29, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a video that went viral around the world a group of vandals toppled a natural treasure on the Oregon Coast.

On August 29 it will be 3 years since the destruction of Duckbill Rock at Cape Kiwanda in Tillamook County was caught on camera.

The suspects have never been punished but investigators are about to run up against a legal deadline to catch them. Even if someone turns them in, it may still be too late.

Just days after he caught it on video, David Kalas and his friend Michael Kel described the troubling moments.

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

“We looked over and there were probably 8 guys pushing over the rock,” Kel said.

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The video sparked so much outrage, it seemed like it wouldn’t be long before someone, somewhere turned in the group.

“One of the guys replied to me that it was a safety hazard, and one of their friend’s friends broke their leg on top of the rock,” Kalas said.

“They kind of just laughed it off and took it with pride that they destroyed something so magnificent and disappeared after, it had no meaning to them whatsoever,” Kel said.

The Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office helped Oregon State Police investigate.

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“It’s been a frustrating investigation,” Sheriff Jim Horton said. “It did go viral and it was viewed by many people, and we tried to work with Facebook and follow-up on leads of potential people in the video, we tried to identify people in the video.”

The investigation took them to suspects in Portland and McMinnville, but the leads became dead ends.

The Tillamook County District Attorney said the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor is 2 years, which means as of last August, the suspects would have been scot-free.

If the case could be prosecuted as a felony, then the statute of limitations is 3 years, and there’s still time to prosecute.​

A crime rises to a felony based on value, but how do you put a value on an ancient rock formation?

The DA said another Tillamook County case could provide guidance.

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In January 2010, vandals fired bullets into the lenses of the Cape Meares Lighthouse. One could argue the lenses were priceless because they were handmade in France 120 years ago.

The vandals were charged with a felony and got a month and a half in jail. They were also ordered to pay $100,000.

But they were caught.

“I’m surprised that given the fact there was a video that was viewed by so many people that there wasn’t a larger response, more concrete information was not received, that is very disappointing,” Horton said.

Horton said investigators feel there are more people in Oregon who know who did this.

If anyone has any tips, they should call the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office at ​503.842.2561 before investigators run out of time.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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