Wed, June 26

Vandals leave mark on Cornville school

Cornville's Oak Creek School is known for its student-created murals signifying both school pride and cultural diversity.

But earlier this week, an unknown "tagger" left his mark on several of the school's exterior walls including partially destroying an ocean life mural created by students last school year.

"It's a shame to see such artistic talents used in such a way," said Ray Morrison, head of plant maintenance. "The damage could have been a lot worse."

"It hurts me that someone could do that to our school," said Principal Sherry Villas. "They destroyed things that the kids have done that created a sense of ownership to the school."

Artist Joan Bourque was heart-broken to hear of the vandalism. Borque's murals are created with students at many schools throughout the Verde Valley.

Depicting an abstract blue and white message, the graffiti was later covered with several coats of paint, however the suspect may not be able to disappear quite as easily.

Security cameras caught an image on tape, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office. Officials say the tape will be reviewed in hopes of identifying the "tagger."

"We’re waiting for a video expert," said Public Information Officer Sharon Wachter.

What is disconcerting most to Villas is the sense of safety lost when a crime is committed in a small community in the early morning hours. "You feel so safe in your own neighborhood but at 3 a.m. some kids are destroying school property. That's scary."

Deputies also found the tops of spray cans allegedly used by the vandal and are examining the caps for fingerprints.

Bourque will visit the school and assess the damage to the ocean life mural.