Man broke into Tovrea Castle, causing $90,000 in damage

It'll cost about $90,000 to repair the castle.
It'll cost about $90,000 to repair the castle.(Arizona's Family/Silent Witness)
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 7:07 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Police are looking for the man who broke into a Phoenix landmark and vandalized it. Just before 2 p.m. on May 20, the suspect forced his way into the Tovrea Castle on Van Buren Street near Loop 202. He then caused about $90,000 in damage to the basement doors and a historical exhibit. Replacing what was damaged will be a tough task for the Tovrea Carraro Society, which takes care of the castle. “The doors themselves are original, with original glass, so that is expensive to repair, and then we did have a display that was ruined. That was part of the original building by Mr. (Alessio) Carraro,” said Tovrea Carraro Society president Tamera Zivic.

He then stole a fire extinguisher and took off, heading south toward Washington Street. The castle has an alarm system and surveillance cameras. Investigators released a photo of him. “We have never seen the gentleman before,” said Zivic.

Police say it’s the second break-in at the historical building in the last couple of weeks, but they didn’t reveal more details on that incident. “Just the idea that the care and love that was put into (the) building, and all the work that went into refurbishing it by the city of Phoenix and all of the work we do to keep it in great shape was shattered literally within moments,” said Zivic.

The Tovrea Castle, also known as the “Wedding Cake House” and a “Jewel in the Sonoran Desert,” was built in the late 1920s and is a point of interest for drivers on the Red Mountain Freeway. The castle is four stories and 5,000 square feet. It opened to the public in 2012, and tours are available, but not for a while. The castle closes on June 15 for the summer hiatus to do maintenance. “Our hope is we will just add this to the list of things that need to be done and open back up in September,” said Zivic.

Anyone with information about the crime can call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. A reward of up to $1,000 is offered for details leading to an arrest. For more information, click/tap here.

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