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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Suspected architecture vandals arrested

    Suspected architecture vandals arrested

    The Center for Creative Photography auditorium was full and spilling out the door yesterday as architecture students came to honor those who caught the vandals they had been on the lookout for.

    Thanks to efforts by the entire gauntlet of architecture students, the ruthless vandals were caught red-handed.

    “”(The students have) been so supportive in trying to do whatever they could to arrest the people and it really worked,”” Jeffery Brooks, associate dean of architecture, said. “”We’re really proud of the students for stepping up to the plate and doing something – they were really courageous.””

    With help from students who were in the building of the last strike Dec. 8, police were able to catch the perpetrators.

    “”I was sitting at my desk near the windows when I heard the first round of shots,”” Sandra Gentsch, an architecture senior, said. “”I just happened to turn around in my chair and glance out and see the only

    vehicle on the road. It was decorated with a lot of weird stuff.””

    Architecture seniors Matt O’Bright and Jocelyn Buechter both called police and relayed the information about the vehicle to officers. The vehicle was gone by the time police arrived; it was later spotted and both the driver and passenger were taken into custody.

    The two men, 18-year-old Anthony Huggins and Matthew Hart O’Leary were booked into the Pima County Jail on charges of felony criminal damage, Sqt. Eugene Mejia, public information officer for the University of Arizona Police Department, said.

    Knowing that the previous bullets had only shattered the first pane of the window and had not gone all the way through, Gentsch said she wasn’t scared. “”Knowing that, I knew I wasn’t really in danger,”” she said. “”Everyone kind of got really excited and were screaming and jumping around and calling 911.””

    Gentsch received a certificate of recognition from the UAPD, a coin and an architecture college paper weight. She also received a money reward that had been promised to who could give information leading to the identities of those involved.

    O’Bright and Buechter were also recognized for calling the police when they heard shots. “”We’re honoring these guys, but they represent you all,”” Brooks said to the auditorium full of architecture students.

    The architecture building, with its north side facing East Speedway Boulevard, has been the victim of drive-by vandalism since the beginning of the school year. “”I’ve counted eleven separate incidences and a total number of 37 window panes knocked out,”” Brooks said.

    According to Brooks the total damage, caused by a BB-type air pistol, exceeded $108,000.

    The UA is self-insured, but most of the money to replace the windows came from the university budget, Mejia said, before the arrests.

    Even more troubling than the vandalism itself was the fact that the building was occupied with students during most of the attacks. “”They (the students) were almost taking a risk in being there at night,”” Brooks said. “”But they decided it was more important to focus on their education.””

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