Tag Archives: Las Vegas sign

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign Vandalized Again

For the second time this year, the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip has once again been vandalized.  

On Friday , Dec. 18 police say 69-year-old Joseph Pepitone, wearing his trademark barrel and a red Santa cap, splattered red and black paint on the most visible part of the iconic sign at Las Vegas Blvd. and Russell Rd.. 

This vandalism was more visible than the incident earlier this year which basically caused damaged to the bottom of the sign. Clark County commissioners and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman immediately had that mess cleaned up. No arrests were made in the first incident.  

Friday’s incident marked only the second time the “Welcome” sign has been vandalized in 50 years, officials said. 

Pepitone was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center on a charge of injuring/damaging the property of another. 

Pepitone is the cousin of the former famed New York Yankee with the same name.  He’s had an ongoing well-documented 12-year beef with Las Vegas casino Arizon Charlie’s, where he claims his $463,895 slot machine win was voided because casino officials said the machine malfunctioned. 

He appealed the decision as far as the Nevada State Supreme Court, but lost each time. 

Pepitone has continued to protest the decision, doing so in an unorthodox way:   He wears a barrel fastened with suspenders from his shoulders as marches frequently in public at demonstrations (including O.J. Simpson’s murder trial), carrying signs that read claims such as, “I was robbed!” in bold, large print.

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Vandals Graffiti-Tag Famed Las Vegas Welcoming Sign

A sad chapter has been literally etched into Las Vegas tourist annals this week:  The famed “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign greeting visitors to the vacation destination of the world on the Las Vegas Strip had red graffiti scrawled across the bottom of it and on the supporting legs on Monday. VegasSign

Almost everyone visiting Las Vegas for the first time has made the sign a key stop in their pilgrimage. 

Needless to say, the tagging of the historic Nevada landmark has made many Las Vegas residents, tourists and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman fighting mad when the graffiti was discovered and cleaned up later in the week. 

Mayor Goodman said he was furious over the vandalism, saying, “When they graffiti’d my tortoise [new artwork on Las Vegas freeway walls], I said, ‘Off with their thumbs!’ This deserves ‘Off with their head!’”  Though reconsidering -applicable retributions later during a radio interview, he said – not jokingly – that he would be content if the perps could be placed in public pillories, letting passerbys paint the offenders’ faces. 

Authorities have still not arrested anyone for the vandalism and it’s unknown whether the graffiti is gang-related. 

The Las Vegas sign designer Betty Whitehead Willis would probably roll over in her grave, too, if not for the fact that she is still living in Las Vegas after completing the project in 1959.  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 sign is currently owned by Young Electric Sign Co. (YESCO) and is leased by Clark County. 

Last December, a $400,000 project to add parking spaces and a paved walkway on the traffic median holding the sign was finished.  The improvements made accessing the sign easier for tourists — and, apparently, for vandals. 

Tourists are beside themselves, saying they think  the vandalism is a slap in the face, appalled by the actions of few, while  racing to find people with Photoshop skills to make the red marks digitally disappear from their souvenir photographs.   

More than just complaining about it all, some tourists provided potential solutions to prevent future eyesore acts, including ideas like making the sign a hologram like in the Sci-Fi movies, or just adding a security camera to the site.  Currently, there are no security cameras on the site. 

Sadly, this is not the first time the sign has received a historic pock mark.  The site has also been the target of vandals in the past, according to the Clark County Department of Public Works. 

“We just repaired that sign a couple weeks ago,” a YesCo sign spokeswoman said. “A couple weeks ago, somebody threw a rock through it.” 

This new incident, though, marks the first time the sign itself has fallen victim to taggers. 

In Nevada’s continuing fight against taggers, the Clark County Commission recently launched a Turn-In-A-Tagger program to combat graffiti, which costs the county millions of dollars a year. Adult taggers who are caught by Metro Police, North Las Vegas or Henderson Police officers could be sentenced to help clear up graffiti, officials said. 

In May the sign was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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Las Vegas Welcoming Sign is One for the History Books

The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign on the south end of the Strip has been greeting motorists entering Las Vegas for a half century.  Now the Strip icon has elevated status, just being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  This designation comes in a year that marks the sign’s 50th anniversary.WelcomeSign

“The sign is one of he most recognizable images associated with Nevada and its tourism industry,” said Ron James, Nevada Historic Preservation officer.

Designed by Betty Willis in 1959, the sign stands in a traffic median on Las Vegas Boulevard, just south of Russell Road.  The Young Electric Sign Company owns the sign and leases it to Clark County.

Much in that area has changed since the sign was first installed.  Mandalay Bay towers above where the Hacienda Hotel once stood. The Signature Executive Terminal has replaced the old McCarran airfield.  And the boulevard is no longer the main route from Southern California.

In December, the county opened a 12-space parking lot and walkway on the median, making it safer for people to snap pictures of the sign.

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