A prolific graffiti tagger in Nanaimo has city bylaw personnel, merchants and owners of private properties hoping police can catch him sooner than later.
The tag “Arson” often accompanied by the letters “A” and “I” started springing up in July and has spread across Harewood, the south end and downtown.
Last weekend more than 25 new tags sprung up on various buildings downtown and in the Old City Quarter.
Nanaimo’s Graffiti Task Force catalogues tags and files them with the RCMP for follow up investigations, but so far Gord Nixon, Community Policing coordinator, said he does not know who is behind the vandalism.
“It’s all over the place – telephone poles, vehicles, private property, businesses,” said Nixon. “[Last] weekend it came into the downtown area in a large way.”
The Keg, Firehouse Grill, Good Neighbours Thrift Store on Milton Street, a podiatrist’s office on Franklyn Street and a commercial building near the corner of Wallace and Wentworth streets were some of the targets.
Under a Nanaimo bylaw, property owners are responsible for cleaning up graffiti and must expend time and costs for cleaning materials.
Some cleaning kits are provided free by the city, but Nixon estimates it still costs $50 to $100 per cleaning in time, resources and paint.
“But when you multiply it by 25 to 100 times, it gets to be a significant cost,” Nixon said.
Nixon said whoever is doing the tagging is the most pervasive tagger the city has in some time.
“It just exploded in the last month,” Nixon said. “The police are trying to track down through their sources who it might be and my role is to take the information my volunteers are finding and direct it to the RCMP so they can include it in their investigation.”
Considering how active this tagger is, Nixon figures it is only a matter of time before he gets caught.
“Somebody this active? Somebody has to know who this person is,” he said.
Anyone with information about this tagger is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.