An allegedly drunk man punched through the sails of two model boats decorated by artists for the Chamber of Commerce’s Sailin’ Around Saugerties Auction on at 1:41 p.m. on June 15, according to town police, keeping alive the troubling tradition of thoughtless vandalism which ruins artists’ painstaking work.
“It seems every year, a couple are damaged, whether intentionally or not,” said Police Chief Joseph Sinagra of the incident. “What is really comes down to is people having respect for other people’s property. It’s a shame, in this instance, when the individual is intoxicated and they intentionally cause damage. People who saw him doing it called and we caught him right away and we were able to catch him. People have to start abiding by the social contract in life, and they don’t.”
Daniel V. Keogan of Saugerties, 38, was taken into custody after a group caught him punching the two of the boats placed outside 89 and 99 Partition St., said police; he was charged with two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief and sent to Ulster County Jail in lieu of $500 cash bail.
The boats in question were decorated by Georgette Eagleson and Gus Peterson. According to Chamber of Commerce Chair Mark Smith, both artists intend to repair their pieces and put them back on the street within a few weeks’ time, and will be ready to be auctioned off on Sept. 15 at the Chamber’s annual gala.
Smith said that each boat cost just under $600 to produce; the boats’ fiberglass hulls alone cost $125, and are shipped to Saugerties from Chicago.
This sort of behavior is par for the course in Saugerties. In 2016, a fiberglass carousel horse modeled after Batman that was fashioned in a previous iteration was stolen, while another was punched through. Nine horses were stolen in 2009, and one was damaged by then-local police officer John Mullen. Sinagra recalled an incident when the hydraulic arm of a garbage truck accidentally struck a lighthouse in a previous wave of the project.
While such incidents could be prevented by housing the installments inside area businesses, Smith said the Chamber has no intention of doing so — “it’s not as much fun with a sheet of glass between you and the piece.
“It is discouraging — I know one year we put a sign on the item saying, ‘Please enjoy these works of art with your eyes and not your hands.’ People should know that,” added Smith.
The proceeds from this year’s auction will go towards the Saugerties Finger Fund, which provides financial relief for struggling residents.