Saguaro National Park rangers seek two vandalism suspects

Suspect 1 (Source: Saguaro National Park Service)
Suspect 1 (Source: Saguaro National Park Service)
Suspect 1 (Source: Saguaro National Park Service)
Suspect 1 (Source: Saguaro National Park Service)
Suspect 2 (Source: Saguaro National Park Service)
Suspect 2 (Source: Saguaro National Park Service)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Saguaro National Park rangers are looking for two vandalism suspects following the second significant vandalism incident in May.

Park natural resources were damaged and destroyed just before midnight on Thursday, May 23 along the Douglas Springs Trail in the Rincon Mountain District.

N.P.S. Law Enforcement Rangers are requesting the community's assistance in identifying two suspects who are believed to have knowledge of the incidents.

"National Parks belong to all of us," Chief Ranger Paul Austin said.  "We take all incidents of damage to park resources very seriously.  These incidents are investigated and those individuals found to be involved will be held responsible".

The attached images of the suspects were captured on cameras that are triggered by a sensor. They're typically used to track wildlife, but this time, rangers say they used the cameras to find out who may be responsible for these hacked up cacti.

Park officials want you to call their tip line if you recognize the two men.

So far, they are only wanted for questioning as the investigation continues.

"What we're seeking is identification, and to be able to speak with these two people but then also anybody else who was in the area on Thursday night.  We know other people were in the area, as well, and we're seeking their input."

The plants that were apparently cut down include a saguaro, a couple of barrel cacti-and even part of a Palo Verde tree.

The chief ranger described the use of sensor cameras.

"We do use cameras when we identify an area of concern or an area with a high increase or damage or vandalism," Austin said. "Do we use them all the time?  But are they a useful tool and one of the many tools we use? Yes."

The ranger says Saguaro East stepped up patrols around that trail after an incident earlier this month when vandals spray painted the cacti.

Austin tells us budget cuts have had an impact on how these trails are monitored. He says the investigations unit is down by two full-time supervisors.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Saguaro National Park information hotline at (520)733-5150.  Callers can remain anonymous.

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