Vandalism to archaeological site ‘irreparable’

The National Park Service needs the public’s help finding a vandal who struck a historic site at a New Mexico national park.

Park officials are in disbelief at the damage done at an archeological site called Duchess Castle at Bandelier National Monument in Los Alamos earlier this summer.

“The site has been significantly impacted and the damage is irreparable,” Bandelier park officials said in a news release.

“We have to divert staff to make repairs, document the damage and not to mention law enforcement has to engage and make an investigation,” Bandelier National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott said.

He said he can’t give out specifics about the vandalism or even release pictures of the damage because the park is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and an eventual conviction; and they want legitimate tips.

“We do not see this. It is very seldom that we have individuals come into the park and do this type of damage,” Lott said.

It’s not the first time New Mexico’s national monuments have been targeted by vandals.

In 2015, the petroglyphs on Albuquerque’s west side were tagged with graffiti, in addition to $75,000 in cleanup costs because tires and trash were dumped across the park.    

No one was ever caught.

Then, last summer, national park officials said two teens vandalized the headquarters of Salinas Pueblo Missions in Mountainair, damaging the statue of Saint Francis de Assisi and throwing cigarette butts and trash into the fountain. 

Their punishment when they eventually got caught was to clean it up.

KRQE News 13 asked Bandelier park officials if they had surveillance video, but they said they would not reveal what evidence they have. This is the second time the site has been vandalized in two years.

Anyone with information about the vandalism incidents in August 2017 and May 2018 that could help investigators are urged to call the Bandelier Crime Tip Line at 505-709-0077. Callers can remain anonymous.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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