Resolution in the Mr. Andre Saga

Joshua Tree National Park published a news release yesterday describing the outcome of the Mr. Andre saga, in which well-known street artist Andre Saraiva paid an fine of an undisclosed amount to the U.S. District Court after vandalizing park property in February of 2015.

The park’s investigation determined that Mr. Saraiva vandalized park property at one site within the park and at another site outside the park’s boundaries. Mr. Saraiva paid the fine on April 1st from his home in France, and the Park Service reports that Saraiva was cooperative with park rangers during their investigation.

Modern Hiker, along with Rebecca from Calpidder, broke the story on February 27th while alerting park authorities to the vandalism. The incident, which came soon on the heels of the Creepytings vandalism spree at several National Parks, sparked outrage throughout the outdoor community. Soon after the incident, Mr. Andre’s attorneys issued a legal threat to Modern Hiker claiming Modern Hiker’s reporting as libelous. The brief exchange between Mr. Andre’s attorneys and Modern Hiker’s attorneys ended without further incident, with Saraiva paying a fine less than a month later.

Joshua Tree National Park appears to be ramping up efforts to curb vandalism, which had become a widespread problem at some of the park’s more popular destinations such as Barker Dam. In the same news release, the park indicated that it had charged and convicted 3 local juveniles with for vandalizing Barker Dam, while another person was convicted for vandalism at Indian Cove Campground. These convictions and Saraiva’s fine come on the heels of an extensive restoration effort at Barker Dam, wherein years of accumulated graffiti were removed from the popular historic landmark.

We commend the swift and decisive resolution of the Mr. Andre incident as well as Joshua Tree’s efforts not only to restore that park’s landmarks but to curb and deter current and future vandalism. Joshua Tree National Park Ranger Jeff Ohlfs stated in the release, “We will use any and all available resources to bring those who engage in this behavior to justice” while continuing to encourage citizens to keep up the “good work” in reporting incidents and remaining vigilant regarding misuse of National Park land.

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