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Man accused of defacing Key West landmark surrenders to police

David Perkins. (Monroe County Sheriff's Office)

KEY WEST, Fla. – One of two men who is accused of torching a Christmas tree in front of the famous Southernmost Point Buoy, defacing the landmark, surrendered to police on Thursday.

David B. Perkins Jr., 22, of Leesburg, Florida, faces one felony count of criminal mischief resulting in property damage.

Key West police said the second suspect, Skylar Rae Jacobson, 21, of Henrietta, Texas, has also made arrangements to turn himself in.

(Key West Police Department)

According to authorities, the incident occurred around 3:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day and was captured on multiple surveillance cameras in the area.

Police said officers and Key West firefighters were called to the fire at the corner of South and Whitehead a short time later and arrived to find the charred embers of the Christmas tree.

Police said the flames left a burned scar on the Southernmost Buoy that was about three feet wide and seven feet tall.

Surveillance video shows a man dragging the tree to the location.

Police said the duo hid when a car drove by and then took several pictures of each other in front of the tree and buoy with their cellphones.

According to police, one man acted as the lookout as the other lit the tree on fire.

One of them then took a final photo of the burning tree before the two ran out of view of the cameras.

Police said the cost of damage is estimated to be more than $5,000.

A motive for the incident is unclear.

Key West Public Works employees began repairing the buoy the same day, and repairs were completed Thursday night.

The 20-ton concrete monument, installed beside the Atlantic Ocean in 1983, bears lettering that proclaims it stands just 90 miles from Cuba.

About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.