A local man is offering his own money as a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who vandalized a statue of Christopher Columbus in Utica.

Vinny Scalise is a Utica resident and is the head of the Veterans Outreach Center. He was also the organizer of the petition that was circulated earlier this year to compete with the petition calling for the removal of the Columbus statue on the parkway.

Now, Scalise is upset over the fact someone defaced the statue he fought to keep standing in the city. He sent a release to media outlets stating that he is personally offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and punishment of the person or people involved.

Scalise says,

This is just another disgusting example of what is happening to our society. Respect for public and private property is being erased in this country by the self-proclaimed anarchist hell bent on destroying America from with-in. As a proud America and resident of the City of Utica I will not sit idle while those that wish to destroy us go unchecked.

Scalise is now offering a reward of $2,600 and is also offering his services and resources to help clean up the mess left by the vandals. He is challenging others to add to the reward amount. Scalise says, "Anyone wishing to add to the amount please contact me at 315-982-7819 or vps726@gmail.com."

Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to reach out to Utica Police at 315-223-3464. The statue is located at the corner of Mohawk Street and The Parkway.

Congressman Anthony Brindisi issued the following statement after the reports of vandalism of Utica’s Christopher Columbus statue:

 “Vandalism is wrong under any circumstances, and the person responsible for these acts must be held accountable. The Christopher Columbus statue is a celebration of Italian American heritage and pride in our area, and we should continue to recognize the vast cultural and economic contributions of our Upstate Italian American community.”

photo courtesy of Vincent Scalise