Police Dispatch

Tweaker against terrorism


UA Area March 5, 11:53 p.m.

A man in a stolen lab coat was caught spray-painting odd symbols and phrases throughout an underground tunnel, insisting he was doing it for a noble purpose, according to a University of Arizona Police Department report.

A UA officer was called to the Warren Tunnel, under Speedway Boulevard near Campbell Avenue, where he found a man wearing a white lab coat covered in wet paint and a partially open backpack revealing a can of spray paint inside.

The tunnel's walls were covered from end to end in purple, blue and green paint forming various shapes and symbols; paint also covered all the tunnel's 56 light fixtures, as well as a stop sign and a sewer cap.

On one end of the tunnel, another officer saw the following phrases scrawled on the walls: "NEED COMPANY BADLY," "DO YOU TRUST ME?" "FIGHTING INSANITY STAYIN ALONE," STAY THE SAME!" "DO IT 4 TUCSON" and, finally, "HOW MANY LEFT IN TOWN? EST?"

When officers detained the man, they saw he was wearing a lanyard attached to a university ID and a ring of keys to a UA building. Asked where he'd gotten the lab coat, he said it was, "left to him because he is doing research for the City of Tucson on a pathogen for an anti-terrorism weapon"—a pathogen that "stops homelessness, pain and suffering."

He explained that he'd spray-painted all the tunnel's light fixtures "as part of his research since [the lights] emit a harmful organism," and that his backpack, the lab coat and the lanyard had been, "left for him by an unknown person for his research."

One officer responded that the subject's story was "farfetched" and he didn't believe it. Without being asked, the man then told them, "he smokes marijuana and at times will use meth."

The stolen lab coat and university lanyard turned out to belong to a employee at the UA's Medical Research Building, where officers believed the subject had gained entrance without permission and left his mark in a whole different way.

Inside one of the rooms of that building, staff found a collection of clothes, shoes and a wide variety of other random items that had been taken from other rooms and placed in a pile on the floor. The items included another lab coat, more cans of spray paint, a black thermal shirt, a pair of jeans, a pair of Croc shoes, some computer accessories, a glass candle with a half-smoked marijuana cigarette in it, a toothbrush, some coffee filters and a water bottle.

One UA employee also found that a pair of brown shoes had been placed in the room's autoclave machine, a machine usually used to sterilize things, including pathogenic waste. Another employee saw that her toothpaste had been moved from one drawer to another drawer in which some candy had been placed.

Nothing in the building had been broken or damaged.

Officers took the subject to jail for criminal damage.

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