Vincent D'OnofrioIn New York City's war on crime, the most charming sand art is sculpted by the detectives of the Major Case Squad.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Vincent D'Onofrio won first place in the 21st annual Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest with his family on Saturday, but just imagine how irritated you'd be if Gwenyth Paltrow had won.

DNA Info reports that D'Onofrio, his wife, and their kids worked as part of an eight-member family team to build a "an elaborate treasure chest," guarded by skeletons made of sand and decorated with gold bars and coins. Probably actual gold bars and coins, because he's a rich actor and can afford quality props.

Competitions are won and lost on the quality of props.

When asked about the theme of their sand sculpture, D'Onofrio's wife Carin van der Donk, a former model, revealed the family's sympathies lie with violent seafaring criminals, exclaiming "We love pirates!"

The D'onofrios came in first in the "mixed" division, which comprised teams made up of both children and adults.

Here are photos of the sand artisans at work.

On the other end of the lighthearted family-fun spectrum was the sculpture that won first place overall: a woman "covering her face in despair" to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The sculptor behind that sand PSA took home the top prize last year, too, when he sculpted a non-despairing buxom lady reclining in a sexy pose.

Is he telling the world a short story through sand? What chapter of this fallen beauty queen's life will next year's Coney Island Sand Sculpting Contest reveal?

UPDATE: Turns out the clan D'Onofrio has a history of crafting incredible architectural wonderworlds out of sand.

Last year, they built a "nearly 2-foot tall" medieval castle—admittedly much easier to build than a full-sized medieval castle—that featured "a scary-looking dragon."

So it's probably not worth it for anyone but the D'Onofrios to even bother entering the competition anymore. They cannot be defeated. They're as good at moving sand around in an artistic fashion as Detective Olivia Benson is at solving violent sex crimes.

[DNA Info // NY Daily News // Image via Getty]