A 100-year-old statue of President Abraham Lincoln that has graced the grounds of the Idaho Capitol Mall since 2009 was defaced on Wednesday night — but there was no permanent damage to the statue in the prank, a state official said Friday.
Photos circulating on Twitter on Thursday showed the statue dressed in a pepperoni pizza costume. The face of the statue appeared to have rainbow colors on it.
At about 7 a.m. Thursday, security officials with the state Department of Administration noticed the giant pizza slice on the statue, said Diane Blume, a spokeswoman for the department.
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“Our staff took everything off, and there was no damage to the statue,” Blume said. The colors on Lincoln’s face were from a mask, not spray paint, she said.
Melissa Davlin, a producer for Idaho Public Television, said on Twitter Thursday night that someone texted her photos of the statue, and she shared that with her followers along with hashtag #pizzalincoln.
Bryant Jones, who sent the photos to Davlin, said he had just picked his mother up from the airport after a late arrival, and they were on the way home when they passed the statue.
“I did a double-take — not something you expect to see,” Jones said.
“We assumed it was supposed to be lighthearted, but you never know,” he said. “Is there any meaning behind Abraham Lincoln wearing a slice of pepperoni pizza?”
Idaho State Police handles security for the governor and Legislature. It investigates crimes at the Capitol and its grounds.
Early Friday morning, Tim Marsano, a spokesman for ISP, said he had not heard of any issues involving the statue.
“Idaho State Police is interested in knowing about defacement of public property on state grounds,” Marsano said.
Blume said a camera on the front of the Capitol, which sweeps back and forth, captured some video of people climbing the statue, then running away.
“There’s not enough detail to note any facial features,” she said. She was glad that no damage done to the statue during the prank. There is no plan to pursue criminal charges, she said.
“I’ve worked here 30 years, and I don’t recall anything like this happening,” Blume said. “We’re pretty lucky. We don’t have a lot of vandalism happening.”