(Update: adding authorities' comments, video)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Central Oregon is known for its outdoors and recreation, but now one of its most beloved caves, Boyd Cave southeast of Bend, has been vandalized.
The Deschutes National Forest Service and the Deschutes County Sheriff's office have teamed up to try to find out who defaced a 1,900-foot lava tube with graffiti.
Eddie Cartaya of the Forest Service and Neil Marchington of the Sheriff's Office are spearheading the investigation.
"We're assisting the Forest Service in any way we can, to find these folks and bring them to justice," Marchington said Friday.
They believe it happened around Dec. 21.
Cartya said, "I think a lot of these people are completely unware of the ramifications or magnitude of what they're damaging."
Both men have been recreating in caves for decades and take the vandalism personally.
"To see people disregard caves and damage them, it does hit at a personal level," Cartaya said.
Marchington is also the chairman of the High Desert Grotto caving club, and said this crime hits home as well.
"I went to Redmond High School -- I'm a local guy," Marchington said. "This is where I learned how to cave as teenager."
With no leads and little evidence, they're now asking for the community's help to locate possible suspects.
"Graffiti in general tends to be unique to the person," Marchington said. "There's some pretty generic stuff you see, but some of these in this incident are specific."
Anarchy symbols, a Hello Kitty image, signatures of what appear to be 'm-r' and 's-k-e-w', and the word 'hellboy' line the cave.
"They're very unique," Marchington said. "They probably go back to a single person who believes that this is their art or their message."
The NSS (National Speleological Society) Cave Vandalism Deterrence Fund and Wanderlust Tours of Bend are putting up a $1,500 reward for tips leading to prosecution of those responsible
If caught, criminals could face jail time, fines and restitution.
For now, authorities are looking to the community for help.
"We're members of the community," Marchington said. "We love the outdoors just as much as anyone else in Bend, and we'd like to see these people prosecuted."
Those with information that could help in the investigation are asked to call Deschutes County's non-emergency dispatch number at 541-693-6911. You can also call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877-876-TIPS. You can remain anonymous, and you could be eligible for a cash reward.