Nelson Rotary Club members paint trees over graffiti in Herridge Lane

Nelson Police combat graffiti, nab two suspects

Nelson police nabbed two suspects responsible for graffiti last week

Nelson police nabbed two suspects responsible for graffiti last week with one having a documented history of defacing public and private property.

In the early morning hours of March 20, an officer of the Nelson Police Department observed large fresh graffiti tags in the 300 block of Herridge Lane.

“The paint used to produce the tags was still tacky and running down the walls,” said Sgt. Brian Weber in a press release.

With a second officer joining in the search, the two followed tracks in freshly fallen snow.

“The officer was able to put his highly developed ‘man tracking’ skills to use and followed the fresh sign from the first tag to a second, garden fresh graffiti tag,” he said.

“With their noses to the ground the officers continued to follow the footprints in the snow to a discarded paint can and lid.”

The footprints continued in the new snow for blocks, over city streets, sidewalks, through private property, through businesses and a schoolyard. They tracked the suspect to a private residence about 10 blocks from the first graffiti discovery.

As a result of the investigation, an adult male suspect with a documented history of graffiti in Nelson was identified. He may be facing a criminal charge for mischief. The matter is still under investigation.

The following night, the same officer continued his graffiti-fighting spree and observed a young Nelson man marking a building on Josephine Street. He was stopped and arrested and search uncovered a black marker.

“The suspect assured the officer that he was an artist,” said Weber.

As the officer gathered further evidence and contemplated recommending a criminal charge of mischief against the male, the suspect offered a sincere apology and sought an informal resolution.

The officer decided to give the suspect a chance of redemption and explained that as long as the tag was removed and the wall was restored to the original condition by the following day, he wouldn’t proceed with criminal charges. The wall was restored by the following evening.

“There is no denying that Nelson displays its fair share of graffiti,” said Weber. “Some people see these tags as a creative art form while others view the tags as the defacing of a beautiful community. Whatever side of the fence you see the issue from there is no denying that the application of graffiti to public or private property without expressed permission may constitute criminal mischief.”

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