GREENVILLE — Law enforcement authorities have been chasing down a number of reported vandalism incidents recently, including spray-painting taggers targeting local businesses and a Sharpie-armed vandal with an apparent grudge against park signs in particular.
Police responded to a report of vandalism after spray painted “tags” were found on the rear of a downtown building. An officer was dispatched to Bach to Rock, 334 S. Broadway, May 16 for a vandalism complaint.
The owner, Todd Kaiser, said that unknown subjects spray painted the words “ghost” and “spade” on the back of the building in white paint. He believed this probably occurred sometime overnight.
According to the police report, there are no suspects at this time.
The Darke County Park District also has been dealing with incidents of graffiti that have cost them thousands of dollars in cleanup.
Park District officials reported that recently, several parks in the county have been vandalized by what seems to be one particular individual.
“This graffiti has caused well over $1,000 in damage to park signs, kiosks, map boxes and benches. It will take well over a week of time from maintenance staff and materials to clean the graffiti from these surfaces,” Director of Darke County Parks, Roger Van Frank said. “It’s about 30 to 40 hours of manpower or more at this point to clean it up, and at about $25 an hour, it’s such a waste. There’s better use for that money.”
Van Frank said the vandalism appears to be the work of one person, who tagged several park signs and benches under the pen name “Diesel.” The tags included the drug references, “shrooms” and “acid.”
“No question it’s the same individual,” Van Frank said. “They used those three terms.”
Stranger still is that the park district seems to be specifically targeted by this person for some reason, with vandalism showing up at nearly every park location on signs and/or benches over the course of a few days.
“They even wrote on signage that’s at the entry to the landfill,” Van Frank said. “And that’s private property. It’s just bizarre. It’s very aggravating.”
Van Frank said that he had also heard of the same “Diesel” tag appearing on a Maid-Rite building.
He added that “a modest reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible is being offered.” The reward money is being provided by the Friends of the Parks.
Van Frank also said that video surveillance is being considered for several locations throughout the park district and that trail cams already are in place at various undisclosed locations.
“The taxpayers helped pay for the parks, and we want to make sure that we take great care of the taxpayers’ money,” Van Frank said. “We will make arrests, and we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
Pictured is the sign at Chestnut Street Marsh, also known as the walk-in entrance to Shawnee Prairie Preserve, which was recently repainted and a new interpretive sign made. The cost of this sign alone is almost $1,000, and the funding for most of the Park District’s interpretive signage is awarded through local grants.
“It is a real shame to see this type of destructive activity when so many work to keep the parks open and inviting to visitors,” Van Frank said.
He requested that if anyone has information on this vandalism to please contact the park office at 548-0165. He also encouraged contacting law enforcement authorities – the Greenville Police within the city or the Darke County Sheriff’s Office elsewhere in the county – if visitors see anyone causing intentional destruction in the parks.
Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA. Join the conversation at Facebook.com or visit our website at www.dailyadvocate.com.