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Vandals damage or steal $10,000 in property at cruise ship dock

Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Vandals who struck the Princess Line's cruise ship dock Monday made a negative impression on some of those working to create a good impression for visitors to Juneau.

About $10,000 in property was taken or damaged in the South Franklin Street area, Juneau Police reported during their investigation Monday.

An officer on patrol in the downtown area first noticed some of the damage at 3:50 a.m. Monday, Sgt. Kevin Siska reported. Trash cans had been overturned and some windows had been broken.

Later in the morning, the department received numerous other complaints of vandalism, Siska added.

Kirby Day, director of shoreside operations for Princess Cruises and Tours, said he hadn't seen anything like it in the 17 years he's been in the community. He said he discussed the crime with police and couldn't talk about specifics of the crime while it remains under investigation.

However, he said that he found the vandalism spree upsetting.

"It's certainly not the first impression we want people to get of Juneau," he said. It required a lot of work to clean up the area, just in time for the Star Princess to dock with 3,700 passengers at 10 a.m., he said.

As cruise passengers crowded the area later in the day, the only reminder of the vandals' attack was a Mount Roberts Tramway van, which had its windshield and windows smashed.

George Reifenstein, general manager of the Mount Roberts Tramway, said the vandals put a lot of effort into their destructive spree. He said the glass on the van was smashed with rocks weighing 40 to 50 pounds.

"I've been here with the tram since the summer of 1998, and we've never had a problem with that lot," he said of the parking area. He described the crime as "a sad commentary."

Police also reported damage to a coffee stand, a telephone booth and a chair. A shed was broken into and hydraulic lines to a forklift were cut. Also, three life rings and an orange barrel barricade apparently were stolen, police reported.

"It's not good for anybody in the community when things like this happen," Day said.

Reifenstein said it's sad to see vandalism, wherever it occurs. The damage to his company's van may not be covered by insurance, he added.

Police are encouraging anyone with information about the vandalism spree to contact their department at 586-0600, or Crime Line at 586-4243.

Crime Line guarantees anonymity and offers a reward of up to $1,000 for information on crime in the community. Crime Line also can be reached at juneaucrime@yahoo.com.

Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.



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