By JEN MCCAFFERY, The Virginian-Pilot
© February 8, 2007

PORTSMOUTH – A man police charged with defacing the city’s Confederate Monument nearly two years ago said he did it as a dare.

During a brief interview at his apartment, Troy Allan Capps, 20, said he "didn’t even really remember" spray painting the faces of the monument’s troops on June 18, 2005.

The motivation for the vandalism of the Court Street monument had perplexed city leaders.

Repair work from the incident was completed this summer, according to Nancy Perry, director of museums for Portsmouth.

The cost of those repairs, a long with other planned restoration work on the figures, was more than $44,700.

Capps has been charged with felony destruction of property, said Ann Hope, a spokeswoman for the police department.

He faces a minimum sentence of one year in prison and a maximum of five years in prison if convicted, Hope said.

He has been released on bond.

He is the only person who has been charged in the incident, Hope said.

Capps, who lives in of the 10 block of E. Pollux Circle, said he had been at a party in Olde Towne drinking that night.

He declined to say if anyone else was involved.

"It was just a dare," Capps said. "Teens drunk, being stupid."

He also said he didn’t know where the black spray paint came from.

The monument features a granite pillar and life-size figures of a sailor, cavalryman, infantryman and an artillery man that are mounted on pedestals and represent a different branch of the Confederate forces.

A document filed in Portsmouth General District Court provides a somewhat different account than what Capps described Wednesday.

On Monday, Capps told police that after work that night, he climbed over the fence surrounding the monument, then sprayed the soldiers’ faces with paint. That summary does not mention a party.

About a week after the incident, the city of Portsmouth brought in a metal conservator from Richmond to do about $1,700 in "rescue work" to remove as much paint as possible from the faces, Perry said

Then last summer, a conservation company came in for seven days and completed cleaning and repairs on the four figures for a little more than $43,000, Perry said.

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