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May 6, 2015

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Vandals hit ancient art at Red Rock


Courtesy Friends of Red Rock Canyon

Damage is shown after vandals used spray paint on historic rock art panels at Red Rock Canyon.

Updated Monday, Nov. 29, 2010 | 2:27 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Damage is shown after vandals used spray paint on historic rock art panels at Red Rock Canyon.

A $2,500 reward is being offered to anyone who provides information leading to the conviction of those responsible for recent graffiti on three ancient rock art panels in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Officials said the art panels — varying in size from 3-by-6 feet to 8-by-9 feet — were completely covered with maroon spray paint. The vandalism happened in the Willow Spring/Lost Creek area, officials said.

The panels included pictographs, defined as paintings and drawings on rock, and petroglyphs, drawings scraped and ground onto the surface of the rock. All were severely damaged, officials said.

The Bureau of Land Management estimates that restoration will cost about $10,000. The vandalism is the most severe case in Red Rock in the past several years, said Mark Boatwright, archeologist for the BLM's Red Rock/Sloan Field Office.

"This act of vandalism has angered not only hundreds of Friends members but has also insulted the memory of the Native Americans who inhabited the area in the past," said Mark Beauchamp, president of Friends of Red Rock Canyon, in a statement. "Defacing their ancient art is the equivalent of destroying our heritage and history."

The vandalism is considered a felony for violating the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, punishable by five years in jail and a fine up to $100,000, officials said. BLM Law Enforcement is investigating the incident.

The drawings could date back to A.D. 1000 and were probably made by the known prehistoric archaeological cultures that lived in the area, such as the Virgin Anasazi or the Paiute.

Researchers are unsure what the abstract pictographs represent. Some of the images include a few smears that were made by fingers dipped in pigment.

Red Rock is vulnerable to graffiti vandals because of its proximity to Las Vegas' urban neighborhoods, said Hillerie C. Patton, a Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman.

"We get a lot of damage and graffiti vandalism all the time," she said. "When people are doing crimes like this they are not thinking it through."

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call (702) 515-5151. Tax deductible donations for the reward and restoration funds can be made by visiting or by e-mailing

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  1. It's a stretch but I can understand how someone might steal to eat, to survive. I cannot comprehend malicious damage to anything--so what if you have no use for it? Maybe someone else does. If you have absolutely no concern for anyone else, everyone else, you don't need to be here.

  2. Chunky says:

    How sad to see this happen to art that has survived centuries.

    They should raise the reward if possible.

    Looking at the photo of the damages on the Save Red Rock site these were not first-time taggers. Hopefully the police / gang task force can shed some light on who it might have been.


    That's what Chunky thinks... that is printable anyway!

  3. I actually agree with Oscar Goodman on this topic....if found guilty.....start cutting fingers off; index first please. (he said thumbs)

    What kind of social degenerate thought this was a good idea.....from the looks of it, an idiotic, spoiled teenager who was either high on MJ, or just a worthless rich, spoiled teenager who was weened too fast from his mommy's boob, either way is it a bad scenario. Hopefully the person responsible for this had an equally weak-minded accomplice who will blab.

    These pictures need to go to Metro's gang unit or other authority. They specialize in knowing what miscreant could be responsible based on the style or signature.

    This absolutely sickens me.

  4. I like Mayor Goodman's suggested solution to this problem. Let's start cutting off fingers.

  5. Despicable.

  6. The only bright side to this is that in 10,000 years, this, too, will be considered historic, irreplaceable art.

    In the meantime, cut the vandals thumbs AND index fingers off.

  7. stevem, the Friends of Red Rock Canyon want the public to see the vandalism. They have posted these same photos on their Facebook page and are offering media tours of the area. They want the public to see the damage as they search for who did this.

  8. I'm also for cutting off the fingers of the morons who did this.

  9. This goes beyond having no respect for other's property. The person(s) responsible for this are mentally depraved. Very sad.

  10. If caought chop off all (4) fingers above the nukckles. No more spray painting for these guys.

  11. Unfortunately, The law enforcement officials have not taken a strong stance against graffiti. Not just in LV, but in my hometown as well. Certain areas get tagged over and over. How about a stakeout and some serious prosecution. I'm not blaming law enforcement, after all, they are plenty busy, but lack of enforcement has allowed this to happen more. How about if they catch them, let someone go to the offender's house and destroy their property. That will fix them. As long as parents don't care (this has been going on long enough now that the parents are probably boasting to their teens about their own acts of vandalism 20 years ago), this problem will not go away. Here, at the old pioneer cemetary, vandals have destroyed headstones on WW1 and WW2 graves. The vandals have no sense of respect at all. It's time for city and county governments to allocate funding to enforcement, even if it means cutting other programs to do so.

  12. bghs, to follow in on your bizarre circular logic, here is a rational response; Why are they DEFACING the work of ancient taggers? Are they so FEARFUL of an ancient gang they have to cover their tags.

    Stupid is as stupid does. Turn your kid in.

  13. I don't believe that we can go around cutting off thumbs or fingers---but, a hefty fine plus a year of scrubbing rocks/repainting walls, etc. sounds good to me.

  14. Now now, if ya stop and think about it this had to be done by out of towners. No local in thier right mind would do this to our redrock. nawwwww never mind I hope they find these punks and let everyone spray paint them wearing just thier skivvies.

  15. reward for info, arrest, chop of fingers? screw that. it should just be legal to shoot these idiots on sight, like a dogt chasing deer.