SAN ANTONIO – Julio Perez, 22, is accused of causing about $250,000 in damage to the Alamo by carving his name into an interior wall with a key.
According to a statement issued Friday morning by Mark Adkins, chief of the Alamo Rangers, an Alamo tour guide noticed Perez as he was carving his name into a wall inside an area of the shrine known as the Monks’ Burial Room. The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Perez tried to get away when confronted by the guide, but was detained by Alamo Rangers.
San Antonio police were called to investigate and arrested Perez on a charge of criminal mischief causing damage in excess of $150,000. Due to the amount, he faces a felony charge.
“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 SAPD.
Police said that the carving was of the suspect’s name, “Julio,” and that it measured about 3 inches by 1 inch.
While the damage may be relatively small in size, it was a big deal to Friday morning visitors.
“I think it’s horrible. Absolutely horrible,” said Debra Blanchette, who traveled from Phoenix to visit the national monument. “I think it’s appalling. This place has been here for many, many years. What’s the point?”
Although the area where the damage occurred was open when KSAT 12 News visited the site Friday morning, Adkins said it has since been cordoned off from the public.
He said historic preservation and restoration experts will assess the damage to determine how best to make repairs.
“In Texas, we take our history seriously and consider the Alamo to be sacred ground,” his 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.”
This is not the first time someone is accused of desecrating the Alamo. Several people throughout the years, including rocker Ozzy Osborne, have been accused of urinating on the sacred grounds.