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Las Vegas Sign Vandalized

Posted on December 19, 2009 by Jordan There have been 0 comments


The iconic Las Vegas sign has been vandalized for the second time this year, and a man who was half-naked at the scene has been charged in connection with the graffiti. At about 7:30 Friday morning, a barefoot man wearing a barrel with homemade signs on it and a Santa's hat threw red paint on the front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign and black paint on the back of it, as FOX5 News was broadcasting live.

Metro Police arrested Joseph Peter Pepitone, 69, of Las Vegas and booked him into the Clark County Detention Center on charges of damaging property, a gross misdemeanor. Pepitone was wearing a barrel and a Santa Claus hat, but no shirt or shoes when he threw red paint onto the sign.

Shortly after being treated, Pepitone was charged with injuring and damaging the property of another, a gross misdemeanor. He was booked into the Clark County Detention Center, and damage was estimated to be between $250 to $5,000. When asked why he did it Pepitone said, "I took it out on the sign because this is the only way, maybe the government would say, 'You know, this guy is maybe part of what is going on,'" . Pepitone was also in the news claiming  he said he lost a half-million dollars in a slot machine jackpot, which the Gaming Control Board decided was a machine malfunction in the late '90s.

The sign has been a part of the city's history since 1959 when Las Vegas native Betty Whitehead Willis came up with the design after Western Neon was contracted by the Clark County Commission. The county offered the company $4,000 to build a sign to welcome visitors to Las Vegas. The Young Electric Sign Company owns the sign and leases it to Clark County, county.

The city could have a 24/7 web-cam focused on this sign, have it sponsored by various businesses, and people could pull it up worldwide on the web. Even though there is a police substation is practically across the street from the sign, people still feel the need to vandalize it once and a while. Luckily this most recent case of vandalism was caught on camera, but a constant surveillance of the sign would make people think twice about vandalizing it.

This post was posted in Vegas News