The Tombstone Epitaph was vandalized late last week when someone left a huge hole after breaking one of the front windows.
Bonnie Short, manager of the Epitaph office located at 11 South Fifth St., said she was notified at approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29 by deputy marshals that the window had been broken.
Short said deputies told her that a caller had seen an unidentified female walking away from the Epitaph shortly after the window was broken at approximately 10 p.m.
There was no indication that the vandalism was related to the publications that carry the name of the newspaper, The Tombstone Epitaph [this publication], published by students of the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona or the national edition of Tombstone Epitaph, a monthly publication devoted to Tombstone history. The Epitaph office in Tombstone is now a museum.
Short said there was a glass from one of Allen Street’s bars sitting on the curb when deputies arrived at the scene, but was she told that there wasn’t enough money in the budget to have the glass fingerprinted. That glass was later thrown away.
The cost t repair the damage may run as high as $400 according to Short. The building’s owner, Bob Love, is having a 4 foot by 8 foot tempered glass replacement window installed soon, she added. Love also owns the O.K. Corral.
No additional damage or loss from inside the building was discovered, Short said. Short added that the perpetrator “most likely kicked” the window since a large heavy metal plaque behind the window was knocked to the floor. No rocks or other projectiles were found inside The Epitaph.
This incident draws even more attention to the rising property damage incidents in Tombstone.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports database, in 2009 Tombstone recorded 76 incidents of property crime and that number dropped to 70 the following year.
But in 2011, the number of reported incidents rose sharply to 101. Property crime statistics for 2012 and 2013 were unavailable from both the FBI’s UCR database and the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s 2012 Crime in Arizona Report. The DPS report stated that the “Tombstone Police Department did not provide complete data.”
In 2009, there were 10 reported assaults and 16 the following year. In 2012, that number rose to 62. So far in 2013, that number dropped to 54.
In 2009, 20 burglaries were reported and just six the following year. 2011 saw a sharp increase to 19. A year later that number was 11 and in 2013, that number has dropped to 4.
Statistics for 2012 and 2013 were provided by the Dee Jackson, dispatcher for Tombstone Marshal’s Office.
At the time of this story’s publication, Marshal Billy Cloud hadn’t signed and approved the police report on the Epitaph incident.
Cloud could not be reached for comment. Cloud is already working as the chief deputy clerk at the Cochise County Superior Court as Tombstone continues its search for new city marshal.
Cloud was scheduled to begin work at the courthouse on Nov. 24. Cloud announced his retirement in a letter to Mayor Stephen Schmidt and Tombstone City Council on Oct. 25.