Vandal defaces marble wall at San Francisco City Hall

April 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Over the weekend, a vandal got past security at San Francisco City Hall and left graffiti drawn on the marble walls. The big concern is how the man was able to get passed security and get inside the building.

San Francisco City Hall is usually closed on the weekends so sheriff's deputies are trying to figure out how someone was able to get inside and spent several minutes scrawling markings all over an entire marble wall panel on the second floor.

City workers were able to remove most of the writing on the wall with detergents. The Sheriff's Department says the culprit most likely got into San Francisco City Hall sometime on Sunday. He was arrested inside on Sunday night.

"At approximately 9 p.m. a deputy sheriff apprehended the individual, took him into custody, the individual was transported into the county jail," said Chief Deputy Kathy Gorwood.

Shawn O'Neal Watkins, 32, is now facing a felony burglary charge, as well as misdemeanor trespassing and vandalism. The fact that he got through security this weekend is a big concern for Board of Supervisors President David Chiu.

"This is a building that has had a history of violence in the past and we want to make sure that whoever did this is brought to justice quickly," said Chiu.

He referenced the tragic November day in 1978 when Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated. They were killed by former Supervisor Dan White, who broke into City Hall carrying a handgun.

"We take security of utmost importance and because of that we are doing a full investigation to identify what actually happened and to prosecute this individual," said Gorwood.

Sheriff's investigators are going through security video to pin down exactly when this happened and figure out when the vandal got inside.

"There clearly was some significant defacing of one of our walls, ironically, outside our press room," said Chiu.

According to the Sheriff's Department, the vandal scrawled what looked to be a phone number, someone's social security number and messages about God.

Sometimes there are events held at City Hall on the weekends, but there was nothing scheduled on Easter Sunday. The sheriff's department is trying to determine if the vandal broke in or snuck in and then hid.


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