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Clock vandals tick off downtown merchants

Business owners say repairs time consuming, costly
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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It’s time to stop the vandalism of the Downtown Auburn clocktower, a local business owner says. Ben Asgharzadeh, owner of The Golden Swann Jewelers in Downtown Auburn, is pleading with clock vandals to stop destroying a local fixture. Asgharzadeh said the tower is vandalized on a daily basis. He said the clock hands are purposefully moved forward, which damages the motor and bends the hands. Asgharzadeh volunteers his time to repair the clock each time. “I took her apart last night and I worked until almost 10 o’clock at night,” Asgharzadeh said Thursday. Asgharzadeh believes the vandals have anonymously called his shop before. He said he’s fielded calls from angry males using foul language as they criticize Asgharzadeh and the clock, saying, “It’s good for the junk yard.” Asgharzadeh said he is evaluating whether to purchase surveillance cameras for the clock area or a type of Plexiglas cover. He said he is comparing prices to see which option will cost less. Last year, local business owners and community members rallied to raise about $15,000 to restore the clock’s motors and its chiming sound. Jason Lee, who owns Lee Photo and is a member of the Downtown Auburn Business Association, said it’s a shame that someone is vandalizing the clock. He said he knows the Auburn Police Department has made “many good attempts to try and watch (the clock), but they can’t watch everything all the time.” “I think that as a community the people who are vandalizing it should all out stop,” Lee said. “They need to show some pride for their community. To vandalize the clock is just disrespectful.” Asgharzadeh said he encourages the vandals to come talk to him or other merchants to hash out any differences. “Vandalizing is not going to solve any problem except now every merchant has to come up with a little money,” Asgharzadeh said. “Under this tight situation at this time, nobody has the money to maintain it — please just stop doing this.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.