NewsLocal NewsLakeshoreOttawa


Iconic Grand Haven lighthouse vandalized twice in 3 weeks

But police captured both instances on crystal-clear surveillance footage
Posted at 4:49 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 21:48:28-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — It’s been an iconic symbol of the Grand Haven lakeshore for decades, but lately, people haven’t been treating the pier’s recognizable red lighthouse with a lot of respect.

Twice in the last three weeks, the lighthouse has been vandalized — both acts were captured on crystal-clear surveillance video.

“You will get caught,” said Lt. Lee Adams with Grand Haven Public Safety. “We have signs out there; we’re not trying to hide these cameras. It’s more of a deterrent.”

Nonetheless, on Friday night, four teens dressed in suits and ties wandered out to the lighthouse — one even glances at the camera as they pass — and carve scratches into the red landmark. Lieutenant Adams says police have already identified the four and said they were coming back from a school event.

One week earlier, on April 28, Grand Haven officers arrested two young women, ages 17 and 20 from Grand Rapids, after they too were caught vandalizing the lighthouse on camera.

READ MORE: Two women accused of damaging Grand Haven lighthouse

“We’ve had just as many adults as we’ve had juveniles out there doing this,” he said. “The camera system is very clear; there’s several cameras out there. It’s also live time so our officers have caught several people in the act.”

It’s no small infraction. Because repairs to even the smallest scratches cost hundreds and take hours of the Public Works Department’s time to fix, the crime is categorized as a misdemeanor and can carry a year in jail or a $2,000 fine.

“It takes a lot more than just going out there with a little touch-up paint,” said Lieutenant Adams. “It’s special paint that they have to use for that lighthouse. If they dig into it, they also have to use special primer.”

It’s a crime that also bogs up the little time officers have to investigate. On top of that, it’s also disheartening to locals — like Lieutenant Adams — who know and love the lighthouse.

“To some people it might not be a big deal; it’s just kids being kids,” he said. “But these are staples of the community and they’ve been here forever. It’s a history and people take a lot of pride in this community.”

If you know anything about either of these two cases, or witness vandalism at the Grand Haven pier, call GHDPS at (616)-842-3460 or Silent Observer toll free at (877)-887-4536 or (877)-88-SILENT.

Follow FOX 17: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - YouTube