Reward offered in vandalism case 

Benjamin Fox School parents are offering a $250 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who vandalized a cherished statue in front of the school.

The stone fox was installed in June 2005, a gift to the school from the graduating fifth-grade class. Parent Margie Benedetti spent many years selling ice cream at the school Friday afternoons to raise the $1,000 needed to create and install the statue, parent Judy Mastrocola said.

Sometime late Tuesday night, an unknown vandal pushed the statue backward, tipping its pedestal over and breaking the statue’s legs, according to parent Dina Artzt.

"Our whole community is just heartbroken," Artzt said.

Police have few leads in the case, according to Belmont police Sgt. Kevin Daley. The vandalism was discovered early last Wednesday by a custodian arriving to work.

"Vandalism does happen one or two times a day [in Belmont]," Daley said.

If the culprit turns out to be a teenager, the parents may ask the vandal’s guardians to help pay for the statue’s repair.

Benedetti used the money she helped raise to pay a Half Moon Bay-based statue firm, Fabbri Statuary, to create the statue, according to Artzt. They donated much of the labor, and now the moms are hoping the company will come out to the school to estimate how much it will cost to repair or replace the statue.

Benedetti kept the statue covered up during the summer of 2005, fearing it would become a target for vandals, Mastrocola said. But not this summer.

"It was a year old and nothing had happened. They thought it would be OK," Mastrocola said.

Staff Writer Melanie Carroll contributed to this report.

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Beth Winegarner

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