JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly a week after someone vandalized the lawn at the riverfront site that was home to The Jacksonville Landing, leaving behind deep ruts in the sod, News4Jax has obtained exclusive surveillance video of the vehicle responsible.
The incident happened about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 3. Surveillance footage shows a pickup truck jump the curb at Independent Drive and Laura Street downtown and speed onto the lawn. The driver does a couple of doughnuts, tearing up the sod, before driving away.
Cameras posted in another location caught a closeup of the driver and the dark-colored four-door pickup with aftermarket rims as it leaves the lawn and heads north on Laura Street.
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said the pickup driver could face serious legal consequences for this act of vandalism if caught. How severe those consequences are depends on the amount of damage caused.
“He could face vandalism of city property, he could spend up to a year in jail for this particular act, depending on the damage,” Jefferson said. “If the damage is greater than a certain amount, in this case greater than $300, it could be a felony, and he could spend more time in jail, more than a year. It depends on the extent of the damage he caused, but he can be charged for destruction and vandalism of city property.”
Jefferson said surveillance footage could be key to the law enforcement investigation.
“They will probably go back to the direction the vehicle was traveling, probably go back to that same street, to see if there are any other images, captured by surveillance video,” Jefferson said. “Maybe there’s a partial tag number, a closer view of the person driving it, and match that with their database. Maybe there’s a witness that we don’t know about that saw the truck or knows the person.”
People who frequent the park told News4Jax they’re troubled by someone defacing the lawn.
“Ah man, this is terrible,” resident Tony Jones said. “This is a landmark for the city. It’s historic. It’s shameful for the city.”
“It wasn’t a good thing to do. When someone messes one thing up, it messes it up for everybody,” Jewel Kirkpatrick said. “It just wasn’t a good thing.”
Added Jenae Green: “It’s like they don’t care. They are just disrespectful to other things.”
The day of the incident, city spokeswoman Nikki Kimbleton called the vandalism unfortunate and acknowledged city officials are working with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to track down the driver and bring them to justice.
“We are extremely disappointed and take vandalism seriously,” Kimbleton said. “We are working with JSO to find those responsible and make sure they are held accountable.”
The lawn at The Landing opened to the public in June after being closed for nearly a year as crews demolished the former riverfront mall. There’s no official word on what, if anything, will be developed on the site.