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'Barrel monster' creator gets community service

Posted July 21, 2009

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— A North Carolina State University student who created a "monster" out of construction barrels on the side of a road near campus was sentenced Tuesday to 50 hours of community service.

District Judge Vince Rozier deferred judgment against Joseph Carnevale until Oct. 30. If Carnevale complies with the sentence, the charges against him will be dismissed.

Joseph Carnevale Student sentenced for 'barrel monster'

Raleigh police charged the 21-year-old history major and part-time construction worker last month with misdemeanor larceny and destruction of property after he took the orange-and-white traffic barrels from a construction site near N.C. State.

The 10-foot "barrel monster," which Carnevale said was supposed to be sticking out its thumb for a ride along Hillsborough Street, grabbed attention on social networking Web sites, with thousands of supporters calling on the Wake County District Attorney's Office to dismiss the charges.

Hamlin Associates, the construction company that owns the barrels Carnevale used, has become a fan of his work and has asked him to create a replica of the figure that led to his arrest on June 10.

"It's been positive publicity for us," Hamlin President Steve Hussey told The Associated Press in June. "If we'd known he'd do that good of work, we'd have given him the barrels."

Authorities pursued the case, despite the construction company's desire not to press charges. Because the case has been deferred, Wake County Assistant District Attorney Steven Saad declined to comment Tuesday.

"The law is what we enforce," Raleigh police spokeswoman Laura Hourigan said. "We go out every day and do our job, and the job is enforcement, and that's why we did what we did."

Carnevale said Tuesday that he understood why he was charged, and that he believes his sentence was fair. He hopes to do his community service for Habitat for Humanity.

"As far as (whether I) should have been (charged), there was a theft that occurred. I guess on paper, yeah, I should have been," he said. "I was surprised in a city the size of Raleigh that they would go to the trouble."

Carnevale said he plans to continue his public art and that, despite his arrest, "it was all worth it."

His advice to other artists: "Don't get caught."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Chatham Adam Jul 22, 2009

    Governor Perdue, break out that Pardon Pen and put it to work.

  • FromClayton Jul 22, 2009

    oh i love his work. i hope he can do some of that community service creating more public art for NC (legally) Wouldnt that be a great thing!

  • ForTheLoveOf Jul 21, 2009

    I don't even want to go and reread through all the posts, b/c I'm sure they are filled with LEO bashing and negative comments. I don't disagree with SOME comments made that had they been the officer involved with the investigation, they wouldn't have pressed charges. However, for all others that say "it was a waste" yadda yadda, just remember, he BROKE THE DANG LAW. If he HADN'T have broken the law in the first place, no one would have called the police to investigate. Then there wouldn't have been an investigation, and a court case that "wastes tax payer dollars". Remember that. You give people power by the actions or inaction you do. Own up to your responsibilities and start making others own up to them, and you might not have to deal with "petty" stuff.

  • jnrobrien Jul 21, 2009

    Why does this stupid story have 55 votes and the story on the state cutting level 3 and 4 group homes for mentally ill children has only 1 vote?????? What is wrong with you guys?????

  • Duke _Nukem Jul 21, 2009

    "The law is what we enforce," Raleigh police spokeswoman Laura Hourigan said. "We go out every day and do our job, and the job is enforcement, and that's why we did what we did."

    Ummmm. I'm a Raleigh police officer and I wouldn't have charged him. Especially when the "victim" didn't even want to prosecute. It's called discretion. And have it finger printed. What a waste of resources. It would be a different issue if the victim wanted to prosecute or if this was something that was a repaeted offense. Our spokesperson doesn't speak for all police.

  • commandokidd Jul 21, 2009

    it was a creative idea, maybe the company that owns the barrels can flip for this guys legal fees?

  • gpcherokee Jul 21, 2009

    This is why I hate NC. I'm going to Canada!

  • St Ives Jul 21, 2009

    Our tax dollars at work! don't give me that hooey about enforcing the law. There are so many times the police try to talk people out of pressing charges, saves paperwork.

  • Chaniya Jul 21, 2009

    I am in love with the barrel monster!

  • commonsensical Jul 21, 2009

    Time to vote out the district attorney at the next election.