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Nov 23, 2015 10:53 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Infant's Memorial Bench At Sammys Beach Is Destroyed

The remains of the memorial bench at Sammys Beach JAIME ZAHL
Nov 24, 2015 9:02 AM

East Hampton locals were greeted by a sordid sight on Saturday morning when happening upon the charred remains of a memorial bench located at Sammys Beach.

The bench, dedicated to infant Falcon Poteah Ben-Avi, was found burned and destroyed in a makeshift firepit surrounded by empty beer bottles, cans and a beach chair. Captain Chris Anderson of the East Hampton Town Police Department said a report was filed on Saturday.

According to East Hampton Town records, Jacob and Joanne Ben-Avi donated the teak bench in memory of their son and daughter-in-law’s baby in July 2014.

“It’s very unfortunate that anyone would destroy any property,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell on Monday morning. “It happens from time to time in certain locations, but we have to just deal with it. Hopefully the persons who destroyed it will be found and taken to task.”

East Hampton residents Martha and James Kiley were two of the first people to discover the scene.

Ms. Kiley said she and her husband live on the road near the beach and visit it every day. When they saw what had become of the bench, Ms. Kiley said her husband called the police while she took pictures that were later uploaded to Facebook.

Dell Cullum was one of many East Hampton locals to reshare Ms. Kiley’s post on Facebook with a sentiment of disappointment and disgust.

“How do people not get caught doing this stuff? I just don’t get it,” he said. “It’s the same thing at the beaches during the summer with the trash. How do people not see?”

Mr. Cullum pointed out that the bench incident was not the first time public benches have been damaged and destroyed. He said he has received many calls over the years about benches being thrown into the duck pond on the nature trail off David’s Lane in East Hampton Village.

However, unlike the nature trail, he said, the entrance to Sammys Beach is out in the open.

“There’s no reason for these things to happen,” said Mr. Cullum. “People need to start saying something when they see something.”

In the wake of the unfortunate event, Ms. Kiley said she and a group of East Hampton residents, who wish to remain anonymous, are planning to replace the bench for the Ben-Avi family.

The Ben-Avi family could not be reached for comment.

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It takes a special breed of low-lifes to do something so despicable, regardless of whether they knew the origin of the bench. I wish I would have seen them doing it, they would have gotten a Louisville Slugger to their numb skulls!
By mtkfish (59), montauk on Nov 23, 15 3:13 PM
and kids wonder why all things fun are not being allowed. this was not allowed. when all the bonfires are stopped the kids will just whine and do something else not allowed. dumb! dumb!dumb!
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Nov 23, 15 5:03 PM
Bonfires are not the problem...insensitive, drunk, morons are the problem. I grew up out here having-and continue to have- bonfires (with & without permits), and never once did anyone do something as heinous as this. Some people drink and drive, should we take away everyone's driver's licenses? Banning something entirely from society creates more criminals...instead, let's deal with the ones we already have and deter people from joining their ranks.
By S'hamptonNative (84), Southampton on Nov 23, 15 7:35 PM
What exactly are you finding fault with here? "This was not allowed"? Are you honestly speaking of the fact that a bonfire was held? Perhaps it's just me, but I find the problem here to be with the theft, vandalism, and blatant disrespect that occurred.
By PrintedWord### (16), East Hampton on Nov 24, 15 11:26 AM
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