SOUTH MILWAUKEE -- Charges were filed Sept. 14 against an 18-year-old South Milwaukee man accused of vandalizing Da Crusher statue, honoring the late professional wrestler Reginald Lisowski. The statue was just unveiled near 11th and Milwaukee Avenue in June. James Dudgeon, 18, was charged with criminal damage to property.
FOX6 News spoke with one of Da Crusher's daughters, hurt and angered by the crime.
"Horrible," said Sherri Brozoski, daughter. "I was so sad -- and that is my dad there. I want him to be held accountable for what he's done."
Prosecutors said family members who visit the statue regularly noticed the damage on Aug. 29 and reported that damage to the South Milwaukee Police Department.
Police discovered two men approached the statue on the night of Aug. 24 and caused $1,200 in damage. Surveillance video showed the men repeatedly striking the statue with a concrete block.
Prosecutors said the surveillance video was instrumental in determining the time frame for the damage and helping police identify the people responsible.
The second man, 21, was identified, but had not been arrested as of Wednesday, Sept. 18.
According to the criminal complaint, after viewing the surveillance video, officers immediately recognized Dudgeon from multiple prior encounters. The criminal complaint indicated on Sept. 12, officers spoke with Dudgeon. At that time, he admitted to using a landscaping brick to strike and damage the statue.
The complaint indicated Dudgeon told authorities that he and a group of friends were out walking around on Aug. 24. They were in the area of the statue when Dudgeon claimed the other guys in the group were talking about throwing a brick at the statue. Dudgeon stated he didn’t think it was a big deal at the time. He stated he did it to be cool. He apologized for his actions and stated he would pay for all the damage, according to the complaint.
The damage was repaired by Beth Sahagian, the South Milwaukee native who built the statue.
"If they weren't addressed, it would oxidize, and turn green, because it was scratched down to the metal," said Chris Smith. "It's going to take a lot more than a couple turkey necks hitting him with a brick to do any damage."
Da Crusher statue became reality through donations from hundreds of family and friends, and was unveiled on June 8 at Crusherfest. Smith, wrestling fan and city attorney for South Milwaukee, led the effort, with the support of the Lisowski family and countless other supporters and volunteers.
Family and friends praised the work of South Milwaukee police, indicating they quickly brought closure after this emotional incident.