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County Historical Society Calling for Stricter Vandalism Penalties
There's been on arrest made since vandals recently turned the historic Pasfield House upside down, but the damage is giving legs to something else.
The Sangamon County Historical Society is now calling on legislators for stricter penalties and laws for vandals who carelessly destroy property with deep historic roots and heritage.
The Lincoln statue at the historic Pasfield House no longer greets people coming and going. Vandals tore through the property in late January leaving thousands in damage, while piercing a part of Springfield's heritage.
"This history of a city is very important, that's the legend that goes with the city," Tony Leone said.
This isn't the first time historic sites have been vandalized. The sword went missing from the Lincoln Tomb and graffiti was sprayed outside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
"In discussion we wanted to see just what those penalties were and create significant penalties if historic properties were vandalized," Roger Whitaker said.
The Sangamon County Historical Society is taking notice, researching what other penalties and laws exist throughout the country.
"Sometimes this occurs by younger folks but that shouldn't give them a pass," Leone said.
There's been a request that a bill be drafted by the legislative reference bureau. Its been requested that it include financial restitution for replication or repair of damaged property, implementing a monetary fine equal to the cost of damage and a minimum of three months to be served in a criminal detainment facility.
"If someone is going to do that type of damage they ought to be responsible for the repair," Leone said.
As of right now, the punishment depends on several things, including the valaue of damage and the reason it happened. For instance, there are stricter penalties for hate crimes. There are also stricter penalties for state-supported property, cemetaries, and religious places like churches and synagogues. But there's still frustration that more needs to be done with historical sites.