Man behind unauthorized dinosaur sculptures near 'The Zone' uncovered

Dinosaurs have ‘invaded’ the Downtown Phoenix area.

Sort of.

The dinosaurs come in the form of two statues that someone installed near 9th Avenue and Jackson. It's a part of town often referred to as "The Zone," an area where the homeless crisis has exploded, as there are more than a thousand unsheltered people living on the streets at certain points in recent years, and people in the area are unhappy about the homeless population that has congregated.

Construction workers at a building in the area say the art installation, consisting of a metal triceratops and a brontosaurus, popped up earlier in the week. Nearby businesses are not sure who installed them, or why, but homeless campers are not too pleased about them, as the installation takes up their valuable sidewalk space.

"They basically kicked them out from over there, so they could put their dinosaurs there," said Jaquan Brown. "It really hurts us because that’s what basically where everybody used to stay. Like, the whole block was filled with everybody, and they had to move to a different location, and it’s hard on us because basically that’s where we lived at."

In a statement, officials with the City of Phoenix say the sculptures need to go.

"The Street Transportation Department has informed the property owner that the structures are not authorized or permitted, and need to be removed from the public right of way," read a portion of the statement."

"I, like, want them moved. If I had the choice, I would move them today," said Brown.

More dinosaurs have gone up

Since we first reported on the dinosaur statues, more have gone up. Two velociraptors have gone up, as well as cactus and some agave.

"They could have done something better with it, I think, because one, that’s a waste of properly, and waste of grass," said Andrea Cribbs.

People with businesses in the area deny they were the ones who put up the statues. They also say they are not sure who put them up.

Owner of sculpture revealed

Since the sculptures went up, we have obtained internal e-mails between the City of Phoenix, who informed "Maker Kitchens" owner Yossi Reinstein that the sculptures were illegally placed, and need to be removed by the end of the month.

Previously, Reinstein told us that he was not the person who put them up. However, the city says he admitted to them that he did, as a way to keep the homeless from camping in front of his business.

Reinstein is one of several behind a lawsuit against the City of Phoenix over their response to the homeless crisis in The Zone.

We reached out to Reinstein on Dec. 15, but he has yet to respond.

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