Maricopa County sheriff’s detectives arrested two 15-year-old Fountain Hills boys in connection with a vandalism spree that caused $6,000 worth of damage to a high school campus, a grocery store and a condominium complex in Fountain Hills.
Authorities are searching for a third 15-year-old boy, said sheriff’s detective James Jeselun.
The vandals defaced all three locations with red and black spray paint. Authorities initially estimated the damage at $10,000, but revised the figure Wednesday.
Graffiti at any degree is rare in Fountain Hills, Jeselun said.
"We’ve had minor graffiti throughout the town over the years, but not to this magnitude in one night," he said.
The boys, who admitted they were responsible for the graffiti, were arrested Tuesday night after detectives checked surveillance tapes from one of the locations.
Charges of criminal damage and defacing public property are pending, Jeselun said.
The vandals sprayed red and black squiggles and letters over two rows of lockers at Fountain Hills High School, on the glass above a classroom door, vending machines and a bronze falcon statue in the center of the school courtyard.
One of the boys attends the school. The other is scheduled to enter in the fall, Jeselun said.
The teens sprayed red paint on the head of the falcon — the school mascot — which was a gift from the class of 2000, said Rich Dobson, administrator for support services for the school district.
"Our custodians are working very hard on the inside," Dobson said. "To show up for work to see all this . . ."
Custodians discovered the damage about 6 a.m. Tuesday. The school’s insurance will cover the $4,000 in damage to the campus, he said.
East Valley Disaster Services is scheduled to start using chemicals and soda blasting to clean up the graffiti today and through the weekend, Dobson said.
At the complex, Bette Andrzjeweski, who is a nineyear resident of a condo in the 16000 block of Westby Drive and whose husband is the property manager, said the facility has been hit three times during the past year with red graffiti.
"We’re very upset," she said. "We’re thinking of getting motion lights. Maybe if they come back here, the lights will scare them off."
The vandals also sprayed the back and side of Safeway grocery store with red lettering and anarchy symbols. It has not affected business, said Kerry Luginbill, a spokeswoman for Safeway.
"These symbols were gang symbols, but we don’t believe these were gang members," Jeselun said. "There’s always copycats."
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Fountain Hills substation at (480) 837-2047.