The following is a news release from Ann Hatch, spokesperson for the “Faces of Freedom” Veterans Memorial in Atascadero: As many of you may have already heard by now, the man who vandalized the “Faces of Freedom” Veterans Memorial on New Year’s Day is in custody. Late Thursday, January 2nd, Sean David Cronin, 49, of Atascadero walked into the Atascadero Police Station and turned himself in to authorities. Cronin claimed the damage to the Memorial was an accident, stating he mistakenly hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal. Sources say he fled the scene fearing another run in with “the law” while on probation. According to Sgt. Caleb Davis of the Atascadero Police Cronin was taken into custody and transferred to the SLO County Jail on charges of violating the terms of his probation. Additional charges of driving on a suspended license and hit-and-run — both misdemeanors — are pending. The Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation credits many in our community for making Mr. Cronin turn himself in so quickly. Incredibly important were the quick responses from eyewitnesses, the tenacity of Sgt. Jason Carr and the rest of the Atascadero Police Dept., and the security camera expertise by John Whitford of “John Whitford Communications”. Just as important was the lightning speed with which our local TV, Radio and Newspapers published the videos and descriptions of the vehicle to the public at large. The Foundation is convinced that it is because of the combined efforts of the community that Mr. Cronin decided to turn himself in so quickly. An unexpected silver lining to this entire event has been the wonderful outpouring of support the Foundation has been receiving from so many members of the community. Emails and phone calls have been pouring in, offering to help the Foundation/City repair and restore the Memorial to its original condition. Once all the estimates for repairs have been assembled, the Foundation will be better able to direct those offers of help. Despite our rough start, the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation can’t help but look forward to a great 2014 based on the wonderful support we have received from the entire community. So on behalf of everyone in the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation, thank you for your continued support of all our Nation’s Heroes and the “Faces of Freedom” Veterans Memorial.