'Barrel monster' creator gets community service
Posted July 21, 2009 10:48 a.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2009 4:56 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.
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."