Vandalism of public property along local Heritage Fund trail

[Source: Derek Jordan, The Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review] – Police are investigating a report of criminal damage at Cochise College High Desert Trail in Sierra Vista after several information plaques along the trail were found to be defaced or damaged.

Along the 600-foot path are about a dozen laminated information panels atop steel frames, many of which are now scarred with the letters “BK” carved into the plastic. BK is most likely Blood killer. It’s gang graffiti,” said Officer John Papatrefon, one of two officers who responded to the outdoor teaching area located off of North Columbo Avenue between the college and Berean Academy around 8 a.m. Friday morning. One of these panels was torn from its stand and discarded in a nearby wash, while others, including a stone bench, were sprayed with black paint. Some of the destruction is not new, according to the officer.

“Some of the damage has been there a while,” although the sign that was broken off most likely happened the night before or early that morning, Papatrefon said. “I’m taking this a little personal,” said Jamie O’Rourke, a facilities maintenance technician with the college and the one who discovered the damage during his morning rounds. “I made all those steel frames.”

The trail, which was funded with a combination of grant money from the Heritage Fund Program of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, as well as donations and matching funds and labor from the college, was opened in June 2003. Surrounded by native plant and wildlife, the path serves as an outdoor classroom for instructors, said Tasneem Ashraf, chair of the Science Department.