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Islamic Center fears more problems with nearby apartment complex

TPD investigating dumping of alcohol onto property
islamic center of tucson.JPG
Posted at 10:48 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 12:26:06-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — It's a new semester at the University of Arizona, but old problems remain for the nearby Islamic Center of Tucson. There have been reports dating back to 2014 of people on Sol Y Luna Apartment balconies dumping alcohol and throwing bottles.

Saturday night, kids who were playing basketball outside last Saturday night, had beer and beer cans thrown on them, by people standing on the balconies of the Sol Y Luna Apartments, according to Maria Molina, a board member for the Islamic Center.

No one was injured, but Molina says the center has had ongoing problems with people on the balcony dumping alcohol and throwing bottles. She says something needs to change -- fast -- before someone gets hurt.

"In the past, we've had broken windshields, people had glass bottles thrown at them, pumpkins thrown at them -- and this is children," Molina said.

Molina says the center is trying to work with the complex's property management, GMH University Housing, and the Tucson Police Department. And so is Councilmember Steve Kozachik -- the complex is in his ward.

"The problem is, this is like mowing the lawn," Kozachik said. "It happens again and again and again."

Kozachik has fought this battle before. He said back in 2016, when similar problems were happening, he asked Sol Y Luna to add mesh screening on balconies.

He says that didn't happen, but the previous management company agreed to put up security cameras.

"I've had exchanges with the property management saying someone's going to get killed," Kozachik said. "Then it's your liability."

Kozachik is also calling for residents who throw objects from the balconies to be evicted. Four students were evicted in 2016 for throwing bottles and trash down onto the Islamic Center.

"This isn't something we generally encounter here in Tucson, but unfortunately with the school year just beginning, we are really afraid that this is going to increase if something isn't done to solve the situation," Molina said.

Molina says the Islamic Center has surveillance video of the alleged incidents, but are not releasing it while Tucson Police continues to investigate.

Justin Wybenga, VP of Operations at GMH Capital Partners provided this statement:

As the owner and manager of Sol y Luna apartments, we have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to our residents endangering the safety of our fellow community members. We are working diligently and cooperating with local law enforcement to get to the bottom of this. If the investigation determines a Sol y Luna resident is responsible for the incident, their lease will be terminated effective immediately and the conduct violation will be reported to university officials as appropriate, per our lease agreement. As this is an active investigation, I must direct additional questions to the Tucson Police Department at 520-791-4444.