Florence workers charged with lighthouse vandalism

Florence workers charged with lighthouse vandalism »Play Video

TILLAMOOK, Ore. -- Two men who work construction in Florence now face charges they shot up a historic Oregon Coast lighthouse last month, shattering 15 windows and a 120-year-old lens -- an estimated half million dollars in damage.

Oregon State Police arrested Zachary Jon Pyle, 23, and David Regin Wilks Jr., 26, at a Florence-area construction site where both men worked Wednesday afternoon.

Zachary Jon Pyle, 23

David Regin Wilks Jr., 26

Earlier in the day, investigators executed a search warrant at the Oceanside home where the two lived.

OSP transported both men to the Tillamook County Jail where they were booked on the following charges:

  • Criminal Mischief in the First Degree (Class C Felony)
  • Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree (Class A Misdemeanor)
  • Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree (Class C Misdemeanor)
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person (Class A Misdemeanor)
  • Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree (Class B Misdemeanor)

Both men posted bail and were released pending a hearing in Tillamook County Circuit Court.

During the search in Oceanside, detectives seized evidence related to the ongoing investigation that started Jan. 109 when several rounds were fired at the lighthouse, breaking 15 windows of the Cape Meares Lighthouse and several pieces of a historic Fresnel lens. 

Additional rounds were fired into an active Coast Guard light and surrounding equipment. 

The suspects allegedly drove down a blocked maintenance road in a vehicle to the lighthouse viewing area, and while driving away the vehicle caused damaged a grassy area.

"We want to thank the prompt, professional investigative skills of the Oregon State Police, US Coast Guard Investigative Services and Tillamook County area law enforcement agencies for bringing us to this point," says Tim Wood, Director, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. "We have a substantial, even daunting, task ahead of us, but it is made much easier with continued leadership from the Coast Guard, and help from the Friends of Cape Meares and the many people who have stepped forward to offer their moral and financial support."

About ten miles west of Tillamook, Cape Meares Lighthouse went into service January 1890. The lighthouse lens was manufactured in Paris, France and shipped around Cape Horn up to Oregon, arriving for installation prior to the date the lighthouse went into service.

A reward of up to $6,000 was offered by Oregon Parks & Recreation Department and The Friends of Cape Meares.

The Friends of Cape Meares Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge are accepting donations with support from the TLC Federal Credit Union and have raised more than $12,000 to date.

Donations may be made online or through the TLC Federal Credit Union (PO Box 160 - Tillamook, OR 97141). The Friends may be reached by regular mail at PO Box 262, Netarts, OR 97143.

The following agencies were involved in Wednesday's ongoing investigation and search warrant execution:

  • OSP Criminal Investigations Division detectives
  • OSP Patrol and Fish & Wildlife Division troopers
  • Tillamook County Sheriff's Office
  • Tillamook Police Department
  • U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Services
  • Tillamook County District Attorney's Office