KEY WEST (CBSMiami/AP) – A sharp eyed bartender and his boss helped Key West police in finding the two men who reportedly set a fire that damaged the city’s iconic Southernmost Point buoy.
Bartender Cameron Briody said a 21-year-old man ordered drinks three times on New Year’s Eve without leaving a tip. He said that made an impression. Police later identified the man as Skylar Jacobson, 21, of Henrietta, Texas.READ MORE: Deadly Crash Shuts Down Deerfield Beach Streets; BSO Cruiser Towed From Scene
That enabled the staff to easily track him down after police released webcam video showing vandals setting fire to a Christmas tree they dragged in front of the buoy.
The arson caused more than $5,000 in damage to the city’s landmark and sent the island’s “coconut telegraph” gossip chain into high alert, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.
Like other locals across the city, Briody watched the video and recognized the man who had stiffed him at Irish Kevin’s on Key West’s famous Duval Street.
“I knew immediately that I had served him and that he had used a card, so his name would be on the slips,” Briody told the Herald.READ MORE: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, Who Grew Up In Miami, Could Be Next US Supreme Court Justice
The bar’s general manager, Daylin Starks, turned to recordings from the “ton of cameras” that watch over the bar each night, and matched credit card receipts to time-stamped videos of the man and his 22-year-old friend, identified as David Perkins from Leesburg.
“We could follow them the whole time, in and out of the bar,” Starks said. “We could see them getting rejected from all the girls they were trying to hit on.”
Armed with their identifications and matching their movements to the vandalism down the street, police swiftly announced arrest warrants for the vandalism suspects. Perkins turned himself in to the police on January 6th. Key West police said arrangements have been made for Jacobson to do the same.
City workers quickly restored the 20-ton concrete monument, which proclaims it stands just 90 miles from Cuba.
Key West visitors couldn’t wait to pose for more pictures at the spot.
“We’ve all been that age and made dumb mistakes and we just learn from them,” said Starks. “So I hope that’s what they do is learn from the mistake.”MORE NEWS: Miami Twin Brothers Will Set Sail For Harvard In The Fall
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