A satanic pentagram display that a man says represents his religious views has been vandalized again, according to Boca Raton police.
The alternative holiday display in a free-expression zone in Boca Raton’s Sanborn Square was found on the ground early Tuesday. Tire tracks led to and from the toppled display.
Some drivers honked and cheered as they drove by the damage.
The 300-pound, 10-foot pentagram is the work of Preston Smith, a schoolteacher for Palm Beach County Schools. The display has been opposed by some religious leaders who called it “offensive and harmful.” And it has been a frequent target for vandals, with police responding to damage reports eight times this month.
Smith couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday despite phone calls and emails.
Karen Slosaski was working out nearby when she saw the tire tracks and thought it was a crash scene.
The 30-year-old from Deerfield Beach described the display as “very unusual” and a little aggressive, given the time of year.
Still, she thinks the way the vandals knocked down the display was inappropriate.
“If you want to voice your opinion, that’s fine but there are other ways to do it without hurting public grounds or causing a scene.”
Vandalism at the display has caused police to respond to the park eight times since the pentagram went up Dec. 6, police records show.
The first incident happened Dec. 7 when a woman saw a man putting a small black box on the pentagram. Fearing the box could be dangerous or a video camera, she called police. Officers responded and found nothing illegal. They believed the box provided power to two floodlights near the pentagram.
Then on Dec. 12, someone crossed out words on a sign near the pentagram. Smith cleaned the markings off with a cloth and cleaner and said he and his organization were working with police to provide video surveillance.
Police were called Dec. 16 for a report of theft and vandalism.
On Dec. 17, an officer spotted a woman who put a small bamboo cross on the pentagram. The woman said she was at the park for a yoga class and felt a moral obligation to attach the cross. The officer removed the cross and explained to the woman that she’d need a permit to put anything on the pentagram.
The woman also said she was concerned that the city would allow the pentagram to be on display in the park.
The last two incidents happened Dec. 19 and 20 when officers responded to reports of vandalism.
“It’s someone’s property, so it would be vandalism,” said Sandra Boonenberg, spokeswoman for Boca police. “We’re still investigating and looking to see if there is any video.”
Tom Beal, 44, of Boca Raton saw the display regularly on his morning walks. He thinks he was one of the first people to see the pentagram display after it was vandalized overnight.
“I go on morning walks all the time and I was like, ‘What the heck is that?'” he said. “I came over and my girlfriend was with me and we took a picture of it like, what is going on here?”
He said the group’s display was interesting and odd but added that it never bothered him.
“As a Marine, I served to protect our freedoms. I served to protect the freedom of religion and freedom of speech. I am not in opposition to things I don’t agree with or understand,” he said.
What did bother Beal was someone leaving tire tracks through the park grass, which he saw as more disrespectful than the display.
Earlier this month, the red pentagram was marred by spray-painted graffiti that covered up its depiction of Satan and wording that included, “In Satan we trust.”
“It shows the silliness of humanity. People who get so upset about something, they’re going to go destroy something and make their statement,” Beal said. “It’s interesting to see how humans respond to things they don’t agree with or understand.”
SOURCE: Adam Sacasa