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Graffiti at San Miguel Mission remains after December vandalism

Mission San Miguel.png
Posted at 6:16 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 22:14:31-05

Two locations at Mission San Miguel are covered in graffiti.

The vandalism happened back in December but being that it's a historic landmark it's not a quick fix.

"It's just kind of blatant disrespect to not only the church but to the community as well," said Vanessa Deroma who was visiting the mission on Monday.

Founded in 1797, Mission San Miguel has been an important part of Central Coast history for more than 200 years.

"It's a very small town. We're proud of our town so we hate to see people deface community property especially historical property like the mission. The mission was the most devastating in my opinion," said Scott Young, San Miguel Firefighters Association President.

Roughly two months ago, just under a dozen sites in San Miguel were hit by a tagger, including a handful of historical sites like the first fire station and the old jail.

The San Miguel Firefighters Association says the San Luis Obispo Graffiti Task Force wasn't able to make it out so the association got to work this past weekend.

"We were able to just simply spray paint over," Young said. "We contacted the property owners for the most part and they were pretty receptive to our efforts."

It cost the association just under $1,000 in materials and equipment.

As for the mission, it'll take more work to return it to how it once was.

"We can't just simply paint over the adobe and the plaster that's been applied to the adobe. It would cause the adobe to degrade over time," Young explained.

The archdiocese is currently working with its insurance company for a restoration project involving preservationists.

"In order to remove as much of the paint as possible and also color match what the previous makeup of the architecture looked like," said Jewel Gentry, California Missions Coordinator for the Diocese of Monterey.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office says they've identified a suspect and that the case is still under investigation.

"To me, it really breaks my heart honestly, because I have such a respect for history that I kind of assume that everybody else does," Deroma said.

The Sheriff's Office adds that it was determined that the graffiti is not gang-related. It was also not a hate crime.

The suspect will face vandalism charges.