Arrest warrants have been issued for two men suspected of lighting a Christmas tree on fire in the pre-dawn hours of New Year’s Day at the Southernmost Point monument, which suffered extensive when the flames quickly spread.
Key West Police Chief Sean Brandenburg said Thursday morning that the two suspects, Skylar Jacobsen of Henrietta, Texas, and Dave Perkins, Jr., of Leesburg, Florida, “are aware of the warrants and are making arrangements to turn themselves in.”
The two face felony charges of criminal mischief because the cost of the damage exceeded $1,000, Brandenburg said, commending his officers, who tracked down the two men via webcam footage at the Southernmost Point that captured the whole incident, and then discovered what bars they had frequented prior to the fire.
Key West’s iconic monument gained global attention from the incident.
The suspects lit the Christmas tree on fire at its base just after 3 a.m. on Jan. 1. The fire quickly spread to the cement landmark while the suspects took photos.
While Key West Police detectives worked to identify and locate the suspects, city employees immediately began repairing and repainting the island’s most-photographed location that marks the Southernmost Point in the continental United States and the closest point to Cuba — well, the closest point that civilians can access, as the island’s true southernmost point is located on restricted military property.

Key West crews had nearly finished repainting the Southernmost Point monument this week as crowds again line up to photograph the 12-foot cement buoy that marks the closest point to Cuba that’s not on restricted Navy property. (Courtesy of Two Oceans Digital)

The 12-foot concrete monument is painted to look like a giant marine buoy. It has stood at the corner of South and Whitehead streets since 1983 and draws thousands of camera-toting tourists each year.
“Workers are scheduled to put the finishing touches on the landmark and unveil its repairs at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 6,” Crean said.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.