Bob Kern, Sr., can’t make heads or tails of what’s been happening to his and other business storefronts and equipment in Catalina.
Semi-trailers and trucks stored at Kern’s Rawhide Feed & Supply store, 3302 E. Edwin Road, have been “tagged” by vandals on more than one occasion. In Kern’s case, his equipment has been hit three times in the past 30 days.
“I was shocked when they came back and hit us again, and then I drove down the road saw that the closed kindercare building north of Sunny Side Up Café was almost solid paint on its west side,” said Kern.
Catalina Automotive, 16400 N. Oracle Road, also has been hit three times in the past week, said service manager Rob Magness. Vandals spray-painted the hoods of six cars parked outside his building. They also tagged his exterior walls and gate.
Security cameras at the automotive shop did not catch any activity. To help prevent further vandalism, said Magness, the shop plans on installing additional cameras.
Investigators from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department are looking at several suspects; however, they have little information to release at this time, according to Jason Ogan, PCSD public information officer.
Local business owners attribute the vandalism to teens with too much time on their hands.
“I don’t think I’m being targeted. I think it’s just random teenage pranks,” said Magness. The types of tagging indicate to the service manager that the graffiti is not gang-related.
“There was a spray-painted line, a winking emoticon, a smiley face and a phallic symbol on the car hoods,” he noted.
Kern attributes the illegal activities to the problems within families.
“Kids are looking for outside activities, they’re looking for family in other groups,” he said. “If people would be good neighbors, do our part and report things to the police, it would help deter these activities. It takes a bit of courage to step up and do it.”
The new building State Farm agent Aaron Franco built has been hit several times, and Franco has yet to move in. Still, he is committed to staying in Catalina.
“I was extremely disappointed in the recent tagging of my new office building. As one of the many business owners in this area, we are striving hard to change the way people view our wonderful community,” he said. “I strongly hope that this recent incident isn’t one that will continue to define our community as I am very proud to work in Catalina and look forward to the growth and success that we will see in years to come.”