AIRLIE Beach locals and visitors would have noticed a less than complete welcome into town of late, but the man allegedly responsible has been caught.
Letters from the Airlie Beach sign have been going missing, with a 19-year-old Sugarloaf charged with wilful damage and stealing.
“Officers from Whitsunday Police Station executed a search warrant on a Sugarloaf address on Friday afternoon and located the stolen letters after receiving information from the public in relation to the alleged incident,” Senior Sergeant Nathan Blain said.
Division 1 councillor Jan Clifford described the damage as “disgusting”.
“It’s not funny, it’s not clever, it’s not smart; they are damaging your property,” she said to local residents. “Every time somebody does something like this it costs you.”
Ms Clifford said the defaced sign made for a poor welcome to Airlie Beach.
“Our visitors are our lifeline,” she said.
“They’re what make us all survive, regardless of whether you work in hospitality or not.
“So it’s really important that when people arrive they get the right impression of us.”
Locals also took to social media about the crime, with Anthony Nobilia suggesting on Facebook: “if he wants letters so badly, throw the whole book at him”.