Friday, Dec. 18, 2009 | 2:55 p.m.
Metro Police arrested a man this morning who vandalized the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign during a live television news shot in front of the sign.
Police said Joseph Peter Pepitone, 69, of Las Vegas, was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center on charges of damaging property, a gross misdemeanor.
According to KVVU Channel 5, the local Fox affiliate, Pepitone was wearing a barrel and a Santa Claus hat, but no shirt or shoes when he threw red paint onto the sign.
Ironically, a TV news crew was there to report on a Metro Police program directed at people who graffiti.
Pepitone had no prior criminal history, police said.
The sign, which was entered into the National Register of Historic Places on May 1, has been a part of the city's history since 1959.
Las Vegas native Betty Whitehead Willis came up with the design after Western Neon was contracted by the Clark County Commission to build a sign to welcome visitors to Las Vegas.