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SK deals with an outbreak of Graffiti

Shelly LaFreniere has bought cans of paint remover to combat graffiti on the wall of the CPA firm where she works.  - Kaitlin Stroschein/Staff Photo
Shelly LaFreniere has bought cans of paint remover to combat graffiti on the wall of the CPA firm where she works.
— image credit: Kaitlin Stroschein/Staff Photo

A Port Orchard police officer driving past the brown brick business park on Bethel Avenue at 3 a.m. on Wednesday didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

She drove past again an hour later and saw big white words spray-painted across one of the building’s walls.

Sadly, it’s an all-too-frequent occurrence of late.

Shop owners throughout city, have reported similar taggings on their stores over the past few weeks, with a concentration of graffiti along southeast Mile Hill Drive and the Bethel Corridor.

“We’ve probably got 10 reports within the last week,” racking up “thousands and thousands of dollars in damage,” said Port Orchard Police Commander Geoffrey Marti.

Shelly LaFreniere, the administrator dealing with the graffiti at a Port Orchard CPA office recently victimized, said she thinks it will take four to five hours of work and about $250 to remove the paint.

Even so, she’s “worried that it will happen again.”

The Goodyear Auto Services Center on Southeast Mile Hill Drive painted over the graffiti tag to its wall — a job requiring several coats of paint.

“The past couple of times, it’s been in the back of the building, and it’s taken us a couple of days to find it,” said Mel Bennett, a manager at the Goodyear. “But this time it was in the front. This is something that was very deliberate and blatant. It was something they wanted us to see.”

The graffiti artist also tagged the Flowers to Go and South Kitsap Grocery on Bethel Avenue, as well as Perfect Partys and Peninsula Feed on Bay Street and the Midas Muffler on Southeast Mile Hill Drive and other local businesses.

“It’s such a black eye to the city of Port Orchard,” Marti said. “It reduces property values. It’s bad for businesses, and where you have large amounts of graffiti, you end up having other crimes as well.”

“We see this as felony vandalism. The consequences, I’d imagine, will be very serious, as well.”

It’s hard to catch someone in progress defacing a building, he said, but “without a doubt there are people out there who know who’s responsible.”

Police are asking merchants selling large quantities of spray paint to pay attention to who’s buying it.

Also, Marti said, people should look for the graffiti symbols elsewhere for clues as to who’s doing it, because authorities believe whoever paints the symbols with graffiti probably writes them elsewhere, too.

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