ATASCADERO, Calif. — A group of vandals on Thursday toppled and removed a third mysterious metal monolith that appeared at the top of a hill in Atascadero, California, and replaced it with a large wooden cross.
Video shows a group of at least three men from Orange County arrive in the early hours and push over and remove the nearly 10-foot tall, 200-pound stainless steel structure, the Atascadero News reported.
A man in the video calls it an “alien obelisk” and then says, “we don’t want illegal aliens from Mexico, or outer space.”
The three men then chant “Christ is king,” as they rock the hollow structure back and forth until it falls. Remnants of rebar were all that remained.
“The monolith disappeared this morning. We did not remove it,” deputy city manager Terrie Banish told the Atascadero News. “There was rebar found in the ground, so we are planning to remove that as it’s a safety hazard. At this time, the City does not have any plans to investigate this further.”
The Atascadero monolith was found Wednesday at the top of Pine Mountain. It was welded and riveted, similar in design and construction to a metal monolith discovered in the Utah desert.
It is the second copycat structure to appear since a team of biologists counting bighorn sheep discovered the first metal structure on Nov. 18 in a southeastern Utah desert. Satellite images indicate that it was installed sometime between August 2015 and October 2016. It was removed Nov. 27 by a group that said “Leave no trace.”
Its appearance led to international interest and the creation and discovery of a slightly similar structure in Romania. The poorly crafted pillar appeared Nov. 27 as a prank in the town of Piatra Neamt but disappeared four days later.
The structures are all believed to be pieces of art, although the creators and installers of them still remain unknown.
“We are upset that these young men felt the need to drive five hours to come into our community and vandalize the monolith,” Mayor Heather Moreno told the Paso Robles Daily News. “The monolith was something unique and fun in an otherwise stressful time.”