Tempe City Councilman Hut Hutson, who for two decades has maintained a set of camels, Christmas tree and other holiday decorations on the butte.

so i guess anybody can put a religious display on the tempe buttes. well anybody who is also a tempe city council man!


Cell phone left behind links man to vandalism By Garin Groff, Tribune January 31, 2006

Vandals have eluded justice for years after smashing holiday decorations atop Hayden Butte, but this years suspect wasnt as lucky.

The man behind the damage this season all but gave his name to authorities during the act by dropping his cell phone on the buttes rocky terrain, Tempe police said Monday.

A detective called a handful of numbers on the phone of Chris Snyder, a 24-yearold Phoenix resident, and asked friends to have Snyder call them. He never did, Tempe police Sgt. Dan Masters said.

A detective tracked Snyder down at an unrelated court appearance last week, when the detective said he confessed.

He stated he was intoxicated and emotionally upset at that time, Masters said.

Snyder faces a possible criminal damage charge. Police havent arrested him yet because theyre waiting to see if the act is a misdemeanor or a felony. The severity depends on an estimate to repair the damage.

That issue is being researched by Councilman Hut Hutson, who for two decades has maintained a set of camels, Christmas tree and other holiday decorations on the butte. Hes had to repair minor damage several times over the years and estimated this work will cost $2,000 to $3,000.

That was the first time in 22 years that we had any serious damage done, Hutson said.

Hutson noticed the damage the night of Dec. 31, when the normally illuminated camels had gone dark. He hiked the butte Jan. 2 and found somebody had broken a camel leg, smashed lights and torn the electrical supply. Behind the middle camel was Snyders cell phone.

Hutson gave police the phone when he filed a report. Police got partial fingerprints, but it was phone numbers that identified Snyder. Police tracked him down Thursday by waiting for him to leave a scheduled municipal court hearing.

Snyder could not be reached for comment. Contact Garin Groff by email, or phone (480) 898-6554

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