A man visiting The Alamo was arrested by authorities and is accused of causing thousands of dollars in damages to the historic landmark.
According to a statement issued Friday morning by Mark Adkins, chief of the Alamo Rangers, a tour guide noticed Julio Perez, 22, as he was carving a wall inside an area of the shrine known as the Monks' Burial Room. The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, KSAT 12 reports.
When confronted by The Alamo Rangers, Perez tried to escape, however, he was detained. When San Antonio police arrived at the scene, investigators determined that the damage was $150,000 and arrested Perez charging him with criminal mischief. Due to the amount, he is facing a felony charge.
The conservation of The Alamo is extremely important for residents and tourists alike. Thousands are spent in the conservation of the important building, History.com says.
"In December 1835, during Texas' war for independence from Mexico, a group of Texan volunteer soldiers occupied The Alamo, a former Franciscan mission located near the present-day city of San Antonio. On February 23, 1836, a Mexican force numbering in the thousands and led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna began a siege of the fort. Though vastly outnumbered, the Alamo's 200 defenders – commanded by James Bowie and William Travis and including the famed frontiersman Davy Crockett – held out courageously for 13 days before the Mexican invaders finally overpowered them. For Texans, the Battle of the Alamo became an enduring symbol of their heroic resistance to oppression and their struggle for independence, which they won later that year."According to authorities, Perez was etching his name, Julio, on one of the interior walls. The damaged area is three inches by one inch, police says.
"The material that he was etching it into is, of course, of historical value. And the dollar value of (the damage) was in excess of $250,000," said Sgt. Javier Salazar, a spokesman for San Antonio Police Department.
Other tourists, who were visiting at the time were horrified to find out that The Alamo had been damaged by another tourist. The area that was vandalized has been closed off and experts will determine how to repair the wall.
"In Texas, we take our history seriously and consider The Alamo to be sacred ground," Adkins' statement read. "Desecration of any part of these hallowed grounds, especially the walls of the Alamo Chapel, will not be tolerated, and we will support prosecution to the fullest extent of the law."
[Image via KSAT, Wikipedia]