Vandalism Hits Home For Habitat

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Payson Area Habitat for Humanity suffered an unexpected setback yesterday when volunteers discovered the work of vandals at its current home site on East Frontier Street.

Judy Berger, PAHH secretary, said her husband Bob showed up at the organization's sixth Payson home Monday morning, and discovered plastic wire caps scattered around the construction site.

"I met Bob over there about 8 a.m. to go over some things, and as he was walking me back to my car, he looked down and saw the wiring caps on the ground," Berger said. "All of the wiring to the home had been completed last week, and the home was scheduled for drywall work this week.

"When we looked around, we found that the wiring inside the home had been cut," she said. "And, it was extensive. It wasn't just one side of the room ... it went throughout the entire house."

Just days prior to the vandalism, roofers found a headless fish on the roof, and another dead fish on the home's patio.

Payson Police officer Mike Mellor said he thinks neighborhood children are responsible for the damage.

"There are a lot of kids living at the apartment complex right there, and more over on Pinto Circle," the officer said. "We talked to the next door neighbor who said she'd seen kids playing in and around the house since construction began."

Mellor also thinks that if the destruction was meant as an attack on PAHH or the homeowners, Adam and Thea Jacquez, the damage would have been concealed afterward.

"The wire caps were just thrown around, and the wire to the garage door opener was cut and just left hanging," he said. "If this had been done maliciously, in my opinion, it probably would have been hidden a little better."

Berger said the destruction has served as a wake-up call for Habitat.

"We've now secured the home, and it will remain that way through the end of construction," she said.

"We've been very fortunate," she added. "This is our sixth house, and we have not had any vandalism until now."

Anyone with information about the damage at the Habitat house, or any PAHH property can call the police at 474-5177.

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