The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of “graffiti vandals” in Atlantic has increased to $1,000. At Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones had announced a $500 reward was being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the “graffiti vandals,” who have spray painted numerous buildings in the downtown area. This (Thursday) morning, Melanie Petty, with the Trevor Frederickson Memorial Fund, announced the Foundation will donate an additional $250 to the reward fund. And, Mayor Dave Jones said an anonymous donor has contributed an additional $250, bringing the total reward to $1,000.
On the wall of a building across from City Hall
The original source of funds for the reward was put forth by Jones, along with Councilpersons Halder and Livengood, because they want the crime spree brought to an end. The scribbling spray paint sometimes spells out the word “Hobo,“ which Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green said may or may not be a gang-related slang term.He said regardless, the cost to clean-up the damage is mounting as the acts continue. Green said citizens are frustrated, and some members of the Council is frustrated enough to put forth the reward money to try and curtail the incidents of vandalism.
Green said the lettering or symbols do not appear to have a nationally known gang affiliation, and he doesn’t want to speculate on whether teenagers or adults are committing the crime.
high up on a wall east of Poplar, between 4th and 5th Streets
He says he won’t speculate because it could very well be a “disgruntled adult,” or “A 10-year old kid who has a little too much freedom.” The culprits have been brazen in where they put down their mark. In some cases, it’s been near the tops of buildings, which means they likely used a fire escape to reach their target.
He says his officers have been “on the heels” of the criminals a number of times, often times finding the graffiti “while the paint is still running,” so they are literally seconds away from being caught, but they just managed to beat the clock and evade capture. Chief Green says some of the acts take place at night, but they’re not sure if that’s the only time the incidents occur.
Behind 2 fenced in air conditioning units in an alley between 4th & 5th Streets
He says if you notice anything suspicious, such as a person hanging around by a building and looking over their shoulder, call the police department or the Comm. Center, because “It can take that person less than 10-seconds to commit the crime, and that’s what makes it so difficult to catch.”