• Police seek to identify man who vandalized controversial Melbourne mural

    By: Jason Kelly , Karen Parks


    MELBOURNE, Fla. - Police said they're trying to identify a man who vandalized a controversial mural Friday night in Melbourne.

    The mural recently caused a heated discussion among city officials.

    The graffiti has since been removed from the mural that features deconstructed versions of cartoon characters.

    Read: Officials say Melbourne mural can stay -- for now

    "I see violence when I look at the mural," said Lisa Elaine, who owns a furniture shop across the street from the mural. "I had many individuals come into my store and scream that they were going to vandalize that mural as if I'm the one that put it there."

    Elaine said she installed a $3,000 security camera system, which recorded the vandalism.

    "I posted them on our Facebook page -- the clips of the perpetrator -- so that people could see that it's not me walking across that street," she said.

    Police said the surveillance footage is being used as evidence in their investigation.

    "God will not be mocked" was spray-painted on the mural.

    Artist Matt Gondek, who completed the mural in January, told Channel 9 that the vandalism is ridiculous.

    "I hope they press charges to set an example," he said.

    Photos: Melbourne mural

    Channel 9 reported last month that city officials had tried to have the mural removed, because they said the design wasn't what was approved.

    A city spokesman said the city chose to not move forward with an appeal, so the mural won't be removed.

    Elaine said she's looking to move her business elsewhere because of the controversy.

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