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Oct 23, 2013 1:55 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Vandals strike the Houghton Road improvement project

TUCSON - A major road improvement project on Tucson's southeast side has been the target of vandals, everything from stolen equipment to pranks with street signs.

It's happening along the Houghton Road corridor improvement project.

The city says these pranks have been ongoing since the project began a year ago.

But the most recent acts of vandalism are so dangerous and costly, the contractor has installed cameras hoping to catch the culprits.

Barricades guiding drivers through the construction are being tampered with, switched around in the dark of night, confusing morning drivers.

Resident Norma Ravallo says, "Well I think it's awful, and whose ever doing it needs to be caught and punished."

Construction staging is located at Houghton and Drexel. Project manager MJ Dillard says thieves have broken in, helping themselves to fuel, equipment and three vehicles.

Dillard says it's possible, vandals got hold of an master ignition key, "One of them ran into a power pole and power was out for a number of houses. Another ran over some old railing and drove it into a ditch."

Resident Bud Wilson says, "Well it's not right. Kids will be kids, if they are kids? I think we need the police to step up and do their job."

Dillard says Tucson Police are investigating, but so far have no leads. They've recently stepped up patrols of the area.

The contractor is keeping a bird's eye view on the project and equipment, by installing multiple cameras. Their message to the vandals?

"It's just very dangerous, we ask you to please respect what we're trying to do," says Dillard.

Area residents are being asked to keep an eye out, and report anything suspicious.

Despite some vandalism set-backs, city officials say project is ahead of schedule.

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