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Some time over the last 24 hours a person or persons defaced the Barney Fife mural that artist Dylan Ross painted on the side of an unoccupied house on Highway 441 in Broxton. Completed in 2016, the mural has become one of the most popular tourist sites in Coffee County and has been photographed and shared thousands of times across social media platforms.
Broxton police chief Jason Troupe was upset that Barney’s painting was damaged. Saturday afternoon, he stated that there was an open and active criminal investigation into the matter. The Broxton officer who has been assigned the case said that he spoke to the property owner who said that he definitely wanted to press charges.
The person or people who damaged the mural splashed white paint over the main section over the main section of the painting. Located just off Highway 441 north of Broxton, the mural depicts The Andy Griffith Show’s Deputy Barney Fife, displaying one of his most common — and humorous — facial expressions — along with another smaller scene of Sheriff Andy Taylor and Opie walking together superimposed over Barney’s right shoulder.
When the vandalism was reported, the white paint hadn’t completely dried, leading officers to believe that it happened overnight.
Ross has already stated that he will fix the damage and restore the mural to its original condition. The Barney mural came about almost haphazardly, he wrote in a text message to DouglasNow. In 2016, he threw it out on social media that he was looking for a place upon which to paint a mural. The property owner responded and said he could use that old house as his canvas. It was Ross’s first mural and he did it completely free of charge. He did say that as he was finishing up, a stranger stopped by and gave him $100. “That was really awesome,” Ross wrote. He added that he didn’t know he was going to paint Barney until he got there; it was a spontaneous, on-the-fly decision that ended up becoming one of Coffee County’s calling cards.
The investigation into this incident remains ongoing. If anyone has any information regarding this act of vandalism, contact 911 or the Broxton Police Department.
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