N.C. 'Highway Monster Artist' faces charges over sculpture

RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina State University student faces criminal charges for what is best described as a "barrel monster" built out of orange construction barrels that became an Internet sensation.

Raleigh police believe the monster was the brainchild of Joe Carnevale, a 22-year-old junior majoring in history. It had a short lifespan, up for less than a day on May 31.

Made of construction barrels being owned by a contractor working on the Hillsborough Street round-a-bout project , the monster sported a wide, toothy grin and pointed an extended finger at motorists on the thoroughface near the university's campus.

Though Raleigh police seized the barrel statue on May 31 as evidence, they didn't arrest Carnevale until Wednesday, according to Laura Hourigan, a police spokeswoman. Carnevale is now facing misdemeanor charges of damage to property and larceny. He'll be in court on July 21.

The larceny, according to arrest warrants, came when Carnevale took "three road blocking barrels and damaged them by cutting and screwing them together to make a statue."