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Police review surveillance video after Old Mission vandalism

Santa Barbara Police have the surveillance video from cameras at the Old Mission after widespread damage took place in a graffiti paint attack.

The damage was reported Wednesday morning. It is unknown exactly when it took place.

Crews have now been on the site for two days carefully going over the sites that were damaged to remove the paint. There are several different surfaces including sandstone, tiles, windows, stained glass, wooden doors and landscaping.

Some of the impact spots were as high as the bell tower.

One resident Kathy Organ was emotionally drawn to the mission after seeing the images on NewsChannel 3. She brought sunflowers and laid them at the doorway and hopes others will too. “This morning when I woke up, I wanted to come here,” she said. “This is not the way to express such a violence.”

David Medina said “I am almost in tears from it.”

The Santa Barbara Police Department has had detectives and a crime scene specialist following up. They also have video from cameras on the building and in the hallways in hopes of finding out who is responsible for the violent attack.

Damage has been estimated at $30,000.

Some donations have come in via mail and in person to help pay for the costs.

Work is involving cleaning substances, tools and special equipment to get to the higher locations.

A wedding is scheduled this weekend at the iconic church and the mission staff is hoping the cleanup will be finished by then.

The steps have been cordoned off with yellow caution tape to keep the public away.

The remaining areas of the mission are open and both tourists and local residents have been coming to the property at a steady pace. The mission is one of the top destination points in Santa Barbara for those visiting.

It’s history dates back to 1879 and it has served as a gathering place for numerous events.

Some residents suggested more security should be added.

The mission has had a very open and receptive property without fencing in the front.

The lawn and the nearby rose garden property are frequently used for picnics or special gatherings.

Looking at the damage, and the crews working long hours on the clean up, Organ said, “I feel sick to my stomach and heartache. This is a very special place. We are lucky to have it.”

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