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North 40 graffiti taggers caught

by EMILY BONSANT
Staff Writer | December 29, 2021 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT— Two juvenile males have been charged with injury to property after admitting they were responsible for graffiti at North 40 Outfitters and other businesses in the area.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 1, the North 40 Outfitters building was vandalized by graffiti, prompting police and city officials to reach out to the public for information. Staff quickly cleaned up the defacement in the early morning hours.

Community members took to social media to post pictures of other businesses in Ponderay and Sandpoint with similar tagging.

Detective Sgt. Brain Koch with the Ponderay Police Department, confirmed that the graffiti was consistent with other recent incidents in Ponderay and Sandpoint. Koch, along with assistance from Sandpoint Police, was able to identify the individuals responsible.

Sandpoint Police has filed charges against two 17-year old youths responsible for graffiti at approximately ten locations around downtown Sandpoint, said Jennifer Stapleton, Public Information Officer for the city of Sandpoint.

The pair also admitted to “tagging” a portion of the roof of the Bonner Mall months earlier. Full restitution is being sought by North 40 management for repainting the vandalized walls - totaling several thousands of dollars.

Police are compiling clean-up costs from business owners in Sandpoint. Affected business and property owners are encouraged to contact the Sandpoint Police Department at 265-1482 so information can be forwarded to the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office.

Ponderay Police officials wanted to thank the public for their assistance.

In order to effectively deal with graffiti, everyone needs to be involved. Law enforcement alone cannot do the job, said Stapleton. Dealing with graffiti must be a team effort involving law enforcement, city government, business owners, and community members.

Five ways to take control of graffiti:

When graffiti appears on your business, apartment, or home, first:

_Report to the Sandpoint Police Department at 208-265-1482 or on the Engage Sandpoint mobile application.

_An officer may take a report to document the damage and may also photograph the graffiti.

_ Remove or paint over the graffiti immediately. This will help prevent more graffiti.

_Ask businesses in your neighborhood to remove graffiti from their buildings, then remember to thank those who remove it quickly.

_Cooperate with police in prosecuting those who vandalize the community.

It's frustrating to paint over graffiti, only to have it vandalized again. Here are ways to paint out graffiti that will discourage further vandalism.

The best way is to paint the entire wall or paint up to 7 feet high, making a straight line across the top with a color that matches the wall, said Stapleton. This leaves no trace of graffiti and does not draw attention of the vandals. This method is far more effective than simply painting patches.

The next best way is to use a closely matched color blocked over the graffiti in neat, square shapes. The closer the color match, the more effective it is in preventing future vandalism.

Remember the vandal's objective is to have others see his "tag" or "name."

Vandals are drawn to walls that are not cleaned immediately because it means their graffiti will be up longer and seen by more people. By covering the graffiti as soon as possible, you prevent your property from becoming a "known" good site among vandals, said Stapleton.

To parents: if you find spray cans, large markers, etching tools, etc., in teen's backpack or room, it could mean they are involved in graffiti vandalism, she said. Often those involved in graffiti first mark their own notebooks and backpacks.

“Make sure children are aware of the serious consequences of vandalism. Know where your kids are and who they are with,” said Stapleton.

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