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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Building abuse a mystery

    A window on the outside of the Architecture building is boarded up after it was vandalized.  A recent string of crimes have caused $100K in damage.
    A window on the outside of the Architecture building is boarded up after it was vandalized. A recent string of crimes have caused $100K in damage.

    Repeated acts of vandalism to the Architecture building have caused about $108,000 in damage and prompted the University of Arizona Police Department to offer a $1,000 reward to anyone with information that could lead to an arrest.

    Since the beginning of the semester, nearly 10 police reports have been filed about 32 windows broken on the north side of the three-story glass building, 1160 E. Speedway Blvd., according to UAPD documents.

    That side is dominated by double-pane glass easily visible from Speedway, making it an easy target for a projectile-firing device, said Sgt. Eugene Mejia, public information officer for UAPD.

    “”We don’t know exactly what the mechanism is that is being used,”” Mejia said. “”It could be a BB gun, pellet gun or a wrist rocket.””

    Because the UA is self-insured, most of the money to replace the windows is coming from the university budget, Mejia said.

    “”It’s a terrible crime,”” he said. “”Someone is using the building for target practice.””

    The most recent attack damaged six windows Saturday night.

    Adriana Perez, an architecture senior, was on the second floor of the building working on a project when five shots rang out.

    “”The shots sounded like someone was dropping something, and they all came in a row very quickly,”” Perez said.

    The incident marked the third time Perez had been in the building while it was vandalized, but it was the first time she was alone, she said.

    “”Another classmate had just stepped out, but because I’ve heard it before, I wasn’t too alarmed,”” she said.

    In previous incidents, Perez said she and her classmates would run to the window to catch a glimpse of any car, or run outside, but that she chose against such actions Saturday because she was by herself.

    “”I just called UAPD within a minute or so,”” she said. “”I think it’s just ridiculous that they would shoot the building so many times.””

    Architecture senior Patrick Bradley was in the building when windows were targeted Nov. 19.

    “”I just heard a series of thuds against the wall,”” Bradley said. “”We’ve got a lot of stuff in here, a lot of mess we’re making, so I originally thought it was someone dropping something, but then I saw that the windows were breaking.””

    Each window has two layers of gas and insulated gas in between, so the shots would only break the outer pane, Bradley said.

    “”It’s like when someone’s windshield breaks – it’s starry and cracked,”” he said. “”It’s not that impressive, but (it’s) an ugly broken window on the side of the building.””

    Architecture students are getting frustrated with the inconvenience the incidents are causing.

    “”We’re just trying to do our work, and after a window breaks we have to move our projects so they can replace it,”” Perez said.

    Since an expansion project for the building was dedicated Nov. 1, the risk of injury to faculty and students has been heightened, as vandalism could cause glass to fall on innocent bystanders within or outside of the larger structure, Mejia said.

    “”Eventually, I think it will affect our safety, if they shoot it with more powerful guns – eventually someone will get hurt,”” Perez said.

    This week, UAPD contacted the 88-CRIME telephone hotline, to which the community can report anonymous tips, Mejia said.

    “”We need the help of the community,”” he said. “”All we need is one person to lead us to the person committing these crimes.””

    Due to the large costs associated with replacing the windows, anyone charged with the vandalism would be subject to a felony, Mejia said.

    The perpetrator(s) could face prison time and be held responsible for financial restituition, as well as additional fines, he said.

    -Yusra Tekbali contributed to this report

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