Saugerties street art vandalized

Bathorse before the incident, with trusty sidekick Robin at his feet. Holy Bathorse, Robin! Robin’s been purloined and the police are looking for the dastardly criminals who perpetrated the crime.

Bathorse before the incident, with trusty sidekick Robin at his feet. Holy Bathorse, Robin! Robin’s been purloined and the police are looking for the dastardly criminals who perpetrated the crime. (photos by Robert Ford)

Someone snatched Robin! Bathorse’s trusted sidekick, Robin, who was a robin, has been boosted from its roost next to the crimefighting caped steed on Market Street. Bathorse and Robin, by Mike LaPeruta, are part of the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce’s Galloping Around Saugerties art project, which features a host of fiberglass horses decorated by area artists in honor of the Saugerties Stallions, the local entry into the Perfect Game College Baseball League.

Dastardly individuals also punched out the popular wrapped chocolate horse Wonka, also located on Market Street.


Police chief Joseph Sinagra has put patrol officer Corey Tome on the case, and he’s pouring over hours and hours of surveillance tape from the camera located atop M&T Bank, which has a good view of the damaged horses. He hopes to identify the individuals who committed these crimes.

“This is very upsetting, very disrespectful,” said local artist Chelsea Bisignano, who created Wonka. “It feels like a personal attack on me. I know it’s not, but it [the horse] bout two months to make.”

Bisignano said she will be able to repair the broken fiberglass but would probably wait until the September auction of the horses.

“I got a call from the chamber telling me about the theft of Robin,” said an angry LaPeruta. “They really had to work at getting Robin. I used a drill bit inserted into the bottom or Robin, and attached it to the sculpture [so] that made it really difficult to remove.”

LaPeruta said that he too would be able to replace Robin when it gets closer to the September auction.

Sinagra said vandals also tried to remove another horse from a Main Street location by unscrewing some of the bolts that hold in place on the stand. “The DPW managed to tighten back up,” Sinagra added.

Bisignano said her sister’s sculpture Endor, located on Main Street, has been damaged by people leaning on it. “They cracked it and rain got in and damaged it from the inside.

Peggy Schwartz, chamber co-chair, said members of the chamber were livid over the damage to the horses. When the police catch those who did it, the “chamber is ready to sign formal complaints against them.”

“I hope these people get caught,” she said. “Creating these works of art is a community project. These artists give their time to support art in the community, and now this ….”

Damaging the horses has a trickle-down effect, Schwartz thought. Money raised from the auctioning of the horses goes to support the artists, supports the chamber, and goes towards scholarships presented by the chamber to high-school students.

It also goes to the Finger Fund, used to help families and individuals in the community in need. “If someone needs help to pay for heat, or food this program helps,” Schwartz said.

“So these individuals are harming their own community by damaging the horses,” she added.

Bisignano suggested that maybe in the future the horses might be placed in storefronts where they would be protected rather than put out on the street.

There are 2 comments

  1. Guy DeGennaro

    This is not the first time this has happened. Several years ago, when we first had these beautiful horse sculptures, a town police officer was found to have vandalized one of the pieces of artwork, after he filed a false report witnessing someone else ad the perpetrators. He lost his job when the truth emerged due to a surveillance tape.

  2. Nancy Whelan

    I’ve been one of the participating artists for Cat ‘n Around Catskill for the past 5 years, and there is always some vandalism each summer. I don’t know why people can’t be more respectful and realize a lot of time, money and effort goes into the sculptures; and that they are a fundraising event with proceeds from the auctions going back into the community. Some of the sculptures go for thousands of dollars at auction, making the vandalism pretty serious. I took this from a law website: “Most states categorize damage to property worth less than $500 as a misdemeanor, while anything worth $500 or more is a felony.” Anything small, like Robin, attached to the sculptures people try and pry off, and it’s not just kids. We have also seen people sit children on them for photographs – they are art, not playground equipment. I had one of my cats badly damaged when someone ripped the entire sculpture, post and all out of the ground and smashed it face first into the sidewalk. It took two weeks to repair, and even with an evening video, they never caught the person responsible. It would be safer to put them inside store fronts, but then visitors wouldn’t get to walk around and view the pieces from all sides and take photographs. Plus they would only be able to go into the shops when open to see the pieces up close.

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