Police investigate graffiti on historic building in downtown Tucson

Police investigate graffiti on historic building in downtown Tucson

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Hungry people waiting for their lunches at food trucks on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in downtown Tucson couldn't help but notice a portion of the Pioneer building and an adjacent property had been hit with graffiti.

The tagging was reported to the Tucson Police Department through the MyTucson app on Monday afternoon, according to Sgt. Kim Bay with TPD.

Police are investigating, but people on the sidewalk Tuesday could not believe such a popular building in Tucson would be vandalized.

"It's disrespectful to the whole community, not just the building," Deb Prince said. "It's part of our history. It's our heritage."

Other historic buildings in the downtown area have been tagged in recent memory. The Rialto Theatre was hit in July 2016, with an arrest coming less than a month later. The Fox Theatre was tagged in April 2015, followed by an arrest in February 2016.

Prince said she worried that displays of graffiti like this one could have a negative impact on Tucson's future as well.

"If you were working in this building or customers are coming to see you in this building, their initial reaction is the same thing - disgust," she said. "It takes away from the whole downtown revitalization."

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona recently moved into the building. Communications Manager Susann Miller said they will be keeping their eyes open to help police in any way possible.

"This doesn't sway our belief that downtown Tucson is growing and we still look forward to being a part of it," Miller said.

Bay said officers were not alerted to any similar cases downtown.

Gary Grove, Jr. said he's hopeful what happened to him over the weekend will help with the case.

He said he was sleeping near the Fourth Avenue underpass when he woke up Monday morning to find his sleeping bag tagged with a similar marking to what's on the building.

"I was angry," he said. "Sleeping on the street is more dangerous than I thought. They could have had a bat and hit me in the head."

Grove, Jr. said he hopes cameras near the underpass will lead police to whoever tagged him while he was sleeping, and possibly the Pioneer building as well.

No arrests have been made as of Tuesday afternoon. Anyone with information can report it anonymously to 88-CRIME.

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