CAPE MEARES, Ore. -- Police arrested two men suspected of vandalizing at the historic Cape Meares Lighthouse in early January.
Someone fired shots at the light - which is nearly irreplaceable - broke windows and damaged the expensive, specialized lens.
According to OSP Sergeant Todd Hoodenpyl, an unknown vehicle reportedly drove down a blocked maintenance road to the Cape Meares Lighthouse viewing area ten miles west of Tillamook at some time between the afternoon of January 9 and noon on January 10, 2010
Police said several rounds were fired at the lighthouse, breaking 15 windows and several pieces of a historic Fresnel lens. Additional rounds were fired into an active Coast Guard light and surrounding equipment. While driving off the maintenance road, the suspect vehicle caused significant damage to a grassy area. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department estimated damage to be over $50,000 dollars.
Photos: Lighthouse damage &repair work
Zachary Jon Pyle, 23, and David Reign Wilks, Jr., 26, were arrested Wednesday after police said they found evidence linking the pair to the crime in their Oceanside home. They faced several charges including felony criminal mischief, criminal trespassing, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. Both posted bail.
Delicate repair work
Meantime, experts arrived in early February, volunteering their time to repair the damage.
Specialists studied the damage this past weekend and began their plan for repairing it. Technical experts led by Joseph Cocking from Lighthouse Lamp Shop, Inc. were able to recover salvageable glass, reinforce loose sections of the lens, and temporarily seal bullet holes in the exterior window panes.
The lighthouse lenses were very old, with much historical value and were irreplaceable, according to Cape Lookout State Park Manager Pete Marvin.
Cocking's team was donating their time and expertise. They planned to submit a full repair plan, with cost estimates included, sometime in the next two weeks. Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge also donated $4,000 for the repair crews' travel expenses and raised $12,000 in donations to cover repair costs.
A reward of up to $5,000 has been offered by The Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible in this case. The U.S. Coast Guard owns the lighthouse, but leases it to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
Cape Meares Lighthouse went into service January 1890. The lighthouse lens was manufactured in Paris, France and shipped around Cape Horn up to Oregon, arriving for installation prior to the date the lighthouse went into service.
Anyone with information to help in the OSP investigation is asked to call the OSP Northern Command Center dispatch at 800-452-7888.