Man climbs 19th-century statue, breaks it into pieces

AP News
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Posted: May 12, 2016 9:33 AM
Man climbs 19th-century statue, breaks it into pieces

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portuguese officials said Thursday they are trying to put a value on a 19th-century statue broken when a man climbed up it late at night to take a photo, possibly a selfie.

The state company responsible for the statue, Infraestruturas de Portugal, said it is looking into whether the statue can be restored or whether a new one must be made. Once the cost is calculated, the company may bring legal charges against the alleged culprit.

The statue of 16th-century King Sebastian, around 1-meter (3-feet) tall, stood in a head-high niche between the front doors of Rossio train station in Lisbon. The statue and the building are classified as national monuments.

Police said a 24-year-old Portuguese man climbed up onto the statue earlier this month. It came loose and fell onto the ground, breaking into more than a dozen pieces. The Public Prosecutor's office is now investigating the circumstances of the incident.

The statue is not a landmark and is rarely noticed by passers-by amid the station's ornate architecture, but King Sebastian is well-known as a monarch who fell in battle in North Africa aged 24 and without heirs. A legend, still recounted, grew up that he would one day reappear out of a mist and retake the throne.