Vandals set fire to Key West’s most famous landmark, causing ‘extensive damage’

The hunt is on for two men who defaced one of Key West’s most famous and most photographed landmarks on New Year’s Day: the giant and colorful Southernmost Point buoy.

The vandals caused “extensive damage” to the buoy between 3 and 3:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Key West police. And, the incident was caught on video.

The most noticeable damage is on the front of the buoy, with charring over the words “Southernmost Point.” It is inscribed with the phrase “90 miles to Cuba, Southernmost Point, Continental U.S.A.”

Screenshots posted on social media show the two men placing a Christmas tree in front of the concrete buoy and then setting the tree on fire. The flames spread from the tree to the buoy.

The Key West Fire Department extinguished the fire.

It’s possible the men didn’t know there was a webcam that’s fixed on the landmark.

Many expressed their outrage on social media, saying they hope the violators are caught and prosecuted.

One person said on Facebook, “If anyone knows who these two jerks are...please contact the Key West police.”

One person posted on Twitter, “I hope the vandals will soon be caught and appropriately punished, but I don’t know if there are suitable punishments for these fashion crimes.”

Another tweet read: “These [expletives] should be forced to lick the charred parts off with their tongues.”

Key West police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 305-809-1000.