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Statue based on famous WWII 'kissing sailor' photo spray-painted with '#MeToo'

Image: Vandals spray painted "#MeToo" on the Unconditional Surrender statue
Vandals spray painted "#MeToo" on the Unconditional Surrender statue in Sarasota, Florida, on Feb. 19, 2019. Copyright Sarasota Police Department
Copyright Sarasota Police Department
By Janelle Griffith with NBC News U.S. News
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The incident in Sarasota, Florida, was not captured on video surveillance and police said there are no known witnesses.

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The Unconditional Surrender statue in Sarasota, Florida, depicting the iconic image of a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square after the end of World War II, was vandalized on Monday — just a day after the veteran in the photo, George Mendonsa, died at age 95.

Sarasota Police Department
Vandals spray painted "#MeToo" on the Unconditional Surrender statue in Sarasota, Florida, on Feb. 19, 2019.Sarasota Police Department

Officers responded at about 12:55 a.m. Tuesday to a report of a person spray painting "#MeToo" on the statue, the Sarasota Police Department said in a statement.

When officers arrived, they found the words "#MeToo" in red covering the length of the nurse's left leg, police said.

The statue is believed to have been spray painted sometime between the mid-afternoon and evening on Monday.

The incident was not captured on video surveillance and police said there are no known witnesses.

The spray paint was removed Tuesday morning, police said.

Mendonsa, whose claim to being the sailor kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman on Aug. 14, 1945, in an image published in Life magazine and seen around the world, was verified using facial recognition technology. He died Sunday at a nursing home in Middletown, Rhode Island, after a seizure.

He would have turned 96 on Tuesday, his daughter told NBC News.

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