Actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens, 27, who stands accused of carving her first name and the name of her boyfriend, actor Austin Butler, 24, into a Sedona rock over Valentine’s Day weekend, can pay a fine and restitution or appear in court, according to multiple news outlets.
The couple’s names appeared on her Instagram account during their Feb. 14 visit.
The severity of the crime ranges from a Class B Misdemeanor, which is six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, to a felony, which is one year in jail and/or $20,000 fine.
The location of the vandalism is not apparent in the image, but U.S. Forest Service officials contacted Hudgens, who was reportedly cooperative in providing the specific location. U.S. Attorney’s Office in Flagstaff set a potential hearing date and contacted Hudgens. She has the option of paying an undisclosed fine and restitution or appear in court to contest the misdemeanor charges.
While Hudgens’ alleged crime is not unique in and of itself, Hudgens has 17.1 million followers on Instagram and the image went viral with 176,000 “likes” before the image was removed. News of the possible vandalism spread worldwide within days.
In 2014, three New York vandals were caught in the act by U.S. Forest Service officials carving “G,” “H,” “S” and possibly a heart symbol at least three feet high using a drill and wire brush into the south cliff of Bell Rock.
In 2015, two men, one from New York and the other from Minnesota, carved a two- to three-foot phallic symbol into Castle Rock, then posed next to it and posted the image on Instagram, giving USFS Law Enforcement investigators an easy lead in the case.
If you witness vandals carving or defacing rocks in the Sedona, contact the Red Rock Ranger District at (928) 203-7500 or (928) 203-2900 or the USFS Region 3 Law Enforcement Division at (505) 842-3196. Note the date, time and exact location of the incident, as well as a good description of the person or persons involved, such as height, weight, age, gender, clothing description and other information.