Feb 1, 2013 7:06 PM by Lupita Murillo

Vandals hit city property

TUCSON- City owned property from the YMCA to the zoo have been recent targets of vandals and thieves. Taxpayers are having to foot the bill.

Just this past Monday, the Reid Park Zoo was vandalized, and thieves attempted to steal an ATM.

David Jensen is replacing the machine. He says the suspects caused quite a bit of damage. They stole a $45,000 riding lawnmower from parks and recreation to rip the machine from its foundation. "Once they got it out of the ground they dragged it to a wash where they proceeded to steal the money, but didn't do very well."

What the vandals did do, was cause thousands of dollars in damage to city property. Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Greg Jackson says, "It's a cost to the tax payers, staff time, materials repairing the equipment, repair the fences that type of thing so it's a pain for the city as well as the citizens. "

Two weeks before, the YMCA on Columbus Blvd. was the target. Officials say the back gate was forced open. The suspects busted through a glass door and then forced the office door open. That's where they stole a 300 pound safe containing cash and checks. They used a dolly to carry it onto a truck.

Barbara Seward visited the zoo with her two grandchildren. She was shocked to hear about the vandalism. "It's absolutely terrible and I see no reason why somebody would do that especially to two community treasures. I just think it's awful."

Jensen says the new ATM is more secure. "It's a lot harder to break into there's a couple of more security measures as well as a GPS unit it's going to be a lot harder to take out."

Tucson police say they've made no arrests, and the cases are being turned over to the burglary unit. Also, stealing an ATM is a federal crime. It's like robbing a bank. If you have information call 911 or 88-CRIME.


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