Surveillance footage of the incident taken on August 12, 2019 at 11 p.m. showed two teenage girls at the display surrounded by a transparent barrier.
One of them was seen slamming the sculpture with a large cushion and eventually scaling the partition and knocking the head off of one of the figures while the other suspect filmed her.
The Honolulu Police Department confirmed a 15-year-old suspect was charged with criminal property damage.
Authorities also verified she was a Hawaii resident.
After the initial arrest, a second suspect, a 17-year-old, was taken into custody under suspicion of second-degree criminal property damage.
The names of the two teens involved were not disclosed since they were minors.
Here is a clip from the surveillance footage.
\u201cTeenage girls arrested for damaging sand sculpture at Royal Hawaiian Hotel\u201d— Crazy Clips (@Crazy Clips) 1686580200
The destroyed art display inside the hotel represented two keiki symbolizing Hawaii's children during the Makahiki season.
The outlet reported the act of destruction left an estimated $1,500 worth of damages.
Twitter was appalled.
\u201c@crazyclipsonly Part of the punishment should be to make them learn about #Indigenous #Hawaiian culture - since this work had cultural significance. Not that learning about that is punishment for others - but I\u2019m sure it would be for these vandals. Sad they\u2019re from there & have such disrespect.\u201d— Crazy Clips (@Crazy Clips) 1686580200
\u201c@crazyclipsonly I hope they learn their lesson because if not they will get worse as they get older and crimes bigger and charges more severe and sentencing stronger!\u201d— Crazy Clips (@Crazy Clips) 1686580200
\u201c@crazyclipsonly Good that they got charged they should also have to pay for the time of the artist's to come back and fix it and have to commity service for 5 years to teach then it is wrong to touch what is not there's\u201d— Crazy Clips (@Crazy Clips) 1686580200
\u201c@crazyclipsonly The girl acted viciously! What could have triggered a psychotic attack , I want to know . The other one tolerated her too. Clearly something prompted them not that I condone them and looking for reason behind their lack of respect!\u201d— Crazy Clips (@Crazy Clips) 1686580200
\u201c@crazyclipsonly Did they grow up in households devoid of any traces of love?\u201d— Crazy Clips (@Crazy Clips) 1686580200
\u201c@crazyclipsonly What was the point of doing all that? Omg people suck\u201d— Crazy Clips (@Crazy Clips) 1686580200
Following the incident, hotel staff obscured the defaced art installation by adorning it with multiple leis as a symbolic gesture until an artist could return to fix the damage.
The sand sculpture was created in mid-July 2019 by Sandsational Sand Sculptures–a Florida-based artist collective.
One of the artists from the group, Thomas Koet, returned to Hawaii to restore the sculpture to its original state.
\u201cThe artist quickly came back and restored his work https://t.co/GoSmsNMC8b\u201d— Crazy Clips (@Crazy Clips) 1686580200
Before the sand sculpture was restored, a visitor named Bruce shared his observations on the ruined display.
He told KHON2:
“I had noticed that they put some leis where the head used to be. I thought that was a decent compromise, but it clearly doesn’t look like it should."
“It’s amazing how much effort you know probably went into it and how little it took to destroy it."
Fresher Live noted the collaborative effort of authorities and hotel staff to temporarily fix the damage served as a reminder of the importance of preserving cherished cultural works of art.