Police Looking for Couple Who Scrawled Graffiti at Ancient Native American Gathering Place, Posted Photo on Instagram: 'They Seemed Pretty Proud of It'

An investigation has been launched following the discovery of a photograph which appears to show two people vandalizing a sandstorm formation which is more than 400 million years old at a state park in Illinois.

Pictures posted on social media show a man and a woman stood in front of the Council Overhang cavern in Starved Rock Park over the Labor Day holiday. The pair are stood next to a black "B+K" in a love heart which has been scrawled onto the ancient rocks.

The image was posted onto Facebook by Starved Rock and Mathiessen State Parks in a bid to help find the culprits.

"Art is beautiful, but it is not meant to be carved drawn, or painted on natural features at state and national parks," Starved Rock and Mathiessen State Parks wrote in a statement.

"Don't be like John and Jane Doe pictured here who decided to paint on Council Overhang which is a 425 million year old sandstone formation at the park used for 8,000 years as a Native American gathering place.

"One of our largest problems at the park are visitors who do not respect the parks trails, exhibits, buildings, interpretive panels on trails, and the natural sandstone features."

Utica IL
These two were pictured actively vandalizing council overhang today!!! If you know them please contact the state park at 1-815-667-4726. PLEASE SHARE! pic.twitter.com/yBPT6rYsFZ

— GotYour6Comm (@GotYour6Comm) September 2, 2019

Speaking to Journal Star, Park Superintendent Kerry Novak said a witness came into Starve Rock administration office on September 2 to report seeing two people deface the wall at Council Overhang, as well as discussing taking a picture of the graffiti and putting it on Instagram.

Novak then searched the social media platform himself and found the incriminating photo.

"They seemed pretty proud of it," Novak said.

Novak said he considers the vandalism as "disrespectful."

He added: "If you bring your family here, you want to see a beautiful natural area. You don't want to see this sort of thing."

Starved Rock State Park
(File photo) Over the course of thousands of years, the weather has carved wind caves in the rocky landscape of the desert mountains along the US-Mexico border on April 4, 2008 east of Jacumba, California. Two people are accused of comitting vandalism at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois over the Labor Day holiday. David McNew/Getty

The Illinois Conservation Police later launched an investigation into the photographs. Police have not yet been able to confirm if the photo is authentic, reports WQAD.

The Starved Rock and Mathiessen State Parks has since removed the Facebook post showing the vandalism. It is unclear why the post has since been removed, and representatives for the parks did not immediately return a request from Newsweek for comment.

If anyone has any information regarding the act of vandalism on Labor Day, they are being urged to call 815-667-4726.

Starved Rock Lodge saw a huge number of visitors over the Labor Day weekend, with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announcing several on Twitter that the park had to close due to it reaching full capacity.