The colorful painted rock known as #BishopMelon is no more.
Radio show Jeff and Jeremy in the Morning tweeted a picture of two small children next to the formerly vibrant stone, with the caption “Thanks to #SLO Natural Resources for shattering a girls dream of seeing #BishopMelon #TeamOfRangersWorkQuick :( #ShareSLO.”
The rock, which is located in a heavily used area on flatter grounds near the Highland Drive trailhead, has indeed been washed clean.
Robert Hill, the city’s natural resources manager, said four rangers spent about an hour on Monday and three to four hours on Tuesday cleaning the rock. He said rangers used a soy-based cleaner that the city typically uses for graffiti, a wire brush and good old-fashioned washing to strip the rock of color. Hill said they started work at about 3 p.m. Monday and finished up sometime on Tuesday morning.
Hill said he did not know if the city would press charges against the vandals, who have not yet been caught. If the city does charge someone, the crime could carry a felony penalty if the repair costs exceed $1,000 and a misdemeanor if costs are under $1,000. The total cost to the city was 17 hours of labor and less than $100 in materials, Hill said.
It’s not clear when the rock was decorated, but officials believe it could have happened late Sunday or early Monday. However, others have told The Tribune they saw the watermelon earlier than Sunday.
No suspect has been identified. The city’s Police Department is requesting that anyone with information about the incident contact them.
The vandal or vandals formed the watermelon design out of the rock that’s shaped like a giant slice of the fruit. A social media hashtag also was displayed in black on the boulder — #BishopMelon.