May 2, 2007
Vandals who tag graffiti around the city watch out; Charlottesville Police are cleaning things up and making arrests.
Police have made four arrests so far, charging the men with destruction of property. They hope by cracking down on the vandals it will cut down on the graffiti.
“I couldn't tell you who did it, but it’s an eye sore ultimately,” said Atomic Burrito employee Chris Henofer.
Vandals tagged the outside of Atomic Burrito, and employees said it’s not the first time.
“It’s really becoming a problem. It is expensive to fix and it is expensive to clean up,” said Henofer.
It’s not only expensive for the restaurant but for the many other businesses and private properties where graffiti has been popping up.
Police took pictures of graffiti marking up the city, and we took video after it was wiped clean.
“We've mentioned it to some of the officers on the downtown mall, and they have been keeping up on it, doing a good job of it,” said Henofer.
“Some of it actually is gang related, gang symbols and that is obviously something we want to get removed very quickly,” said Lt. Gary Pleasants of the Charlottesville Police Department.
Not only are police cleaning it up, they are targeting the people who made the mess. An officer has been assigned to find out who's responsible. Officials say, “[They have] different ways of identifying people who did it. A lot of times it’s just going around in plain clothes talking to people and that's where he gets most of his information.”
“I've worked in restaurants downtown for 10 years, and it’s always been a problem, and it’s always expensive no matter where you work and it would nice to see it stop,” said Henofer.
That's the goal: to put a stop to it.
Police want to make those responsible pay. They have already collected $2,000 in restitution from people convicted.
Police are calling this crackdown on graffiti a “problem solving project,” one of many projects they have in the works.