Police: Red Rock vandals have been marking Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada (AP) December 2010

Police say vandals who spray-painted gang graffiti over prehistoric rock art at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada have also been leaving their mark around Las Vegas.

Las Vegas police said last week that gang monikers around the city match the crude messages scrawled over historical pictographs and petroglyphs at the scenic federal preserve about 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

Authorities say the graffiti marred drawings scraped and ground into the rocks up to 1,000 years ago - probably by Native Americans who once lived in the area.

Conservation advocates say restoring the artifacts will likely require meticulous and costly scrubbing.

Police say they need the public to help them identify suspects.

Hikers discovered the graffiti near the main road through Red Rock in November.