Coronado's Sandman Makes Waves, Burns Bridge

A good-natured gesture of paying to bring The Sandman to Coronado for the holiday has turned into a controversy.

Coronado residents raised money to bring “The Sandman” to the city’s Independence Day parade. Now, the artist has raised the ire of the town’s Chief of Police.

Family members say Alberto Avila has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Some well-meaning Coronado residents arranged Avila’s travel last week as a tribute to the man who created art with sand on city streets. 

Unfortunately, not everyone saw what The Sandman did as a positive thing in the community – including the Coronado Police Department.

On Friday, Avila received a citation after he used sand to draw on the street in front of Dale's Swim Shop on Orange Avenue. 

Police officials said they believed they had worked out a compromise that the so-called Sandman would only do his sand art near the beach.

Then, on Monday, Avila used sand to write an anti-police message in front of the Brigantine restaurant.

Avila told NBC 7 on Monday that he misunderstood. He never agreed to stay in specific areas. 

“He wanted me to stop doing it for the next three days, I’ll be here until Wednesday. I didn’t say nothing, I just looked him like that, but I was gonna say I’ll stop when hell freezes over and you’re coming with me,” Avila said laughing. 

The plan is for The Sandman to fly back to El Paso on Wednesday. 

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