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Business owner grows weary of covering up vandals' graffiti in downtown Springfield

October 04, 2011|by Steve Grant and Tom Schultheis, KY3 News | newsalerts@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Undercover city police officers are trying to intercept two graffiti vandals who keep adding to the blight that they create.  They've “tagged” places in downtown often over the past six weeks.

Graffiti vandals are no different than male dogs and lions.  Just ask Jeremy Hill, owner of Hill Pallet Manufacturing Co. on North Main Avenue in Jordan Valley.

“The more we cover it up, the more they paint.  They're just marking their territory.”

Hill's wooden pallet factory is favorite canvas for spray painters during the night.  He's even tried to appease them.

“We put a piece of paper with our logo on it, saying, ‘If you want to paint something, paint this,’ and what they left was pretty obscene,” Hill said.

He quit buying $50-a-gallon primer to maintain his company’s image and cover up every new unauthorized signage.

“Here's Hill Pallet Company making a delivery with gang insignias -- not real professional,” he said.

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Springfield police believe this is the stuff of a couple of students.  They’re delighted with the artwork that a security camera's flash captured for them outside Butler Rosenbury and Partners’ building on Main.  It shows two taggers at work.

“Very rare; this is extremely unique to have pictures of the criminals in action,” said Cpl. Matt Brown, a spokesman for the Springfield Police Department.

Investigators say the backpack on the bearded vandal is a great clue.  The blonde person with him could be a woman.

Police say their markings apparently are not political or hate-related but business owners trying to ward off graffiti are not so sure.  The symbol on one architect's parking space is a little sinister, and too close to home for Hill.

“I am licensed to conceal and carry.  There have been some instances I'm glad I had it with me,” he said.

Anyone who recognizes the taggers can call Crime Stoppers at (417) 869-TIPS.  You can remain anonymous.

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