SAVANNAH, Georgia — Someone thought the Nathanael Greene monument in Savannah, Georgia, needed a makeover.
On Thursday, the 50-foot white marble obelisk was defaced with none other than googly eyes, which added a comical flare to the statue. But city officials didn’t find the stunt funny.
“Who did this?! Someone placed googly eyes on our historic #NathanaelGreene statue in #JohnsonSquare. It may look funny but harming our historic monuments and public property is no laughing matter, in fact, it’s a crime,” the Savannah city government said on its Facebook page Thursday.
The city’s post was shared more than 29,000 times and more than 8,000 people commented on it. Commenters posted memes of the googly-eyed Greene with captions like, “What are those pigeons doing?” They also posted pictures of inanimate objects like trees and doors with googly eyes. Someone even posted a link to a site selling T-shirts with the googly-eyed statue.
Authorities were alerted to the googly eyes on Thursday morning after local media saw a photo on social media, Savannah Police Department spokeswoman Keturah Greene said. Officers sent to the scene found googly eyes on the Revolutionary War hero.
“The eyes were quickly removed and did not appear to do any damage to the statue,” said Greene — the officer, not the statue. She added that the stunt “is technically trespassing.”
“Officers wrote a report for trespassing and will be reviewing cameras in the area to see if the incident was captured on camera,” Greene said.
A police report explains how a city employee contacted authorities about a possible trespassing violation, in which “someone had put some ‘googly eye’ on the Nathanael Greene Monument in the center of the square.
“I looked at the monument and saw the ‘googly eye’ on it,” the responding officer wrote.
In a line marked “solvability” on the report, the officer wrote “low probability.”
Who is Nathanael Greene?
Greene — the general, not the police spokeswoman — was “one of the most respected generals of the Revolutionary War and a talented military strategist,” according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
He was commander of the Southern Department of the Continental Army and led a campaign that stopped the British from occupying the South, the encyclopedia said. Maj. Gen. Greene never fought a battle in Georgia, but his leadership helped turn the tide to American victory and the freeing of Georgia from British forces.
Greene died near Savannah on June 19, 1786, according to the Georgia Historical Society. Greene County in Georgia, about 100 miles east of Atlanta, is named after him.
The monument to Greene in Savannah was erected in 1953. His remains are buried beneath it.