Remodeled Caveman bridge hit by graffiti vandals
Law enforcement in Grants Pass continue to take on graffiti vandals hitting properties and landmarks throughout the city to built cases against repeat offenders.
Last year the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety investigated 69 incidents of graffiti across the city.
The recently remodeled Caveman Bridge was hit again by graffiti vandals but Grants Pass Dept. of Public Safety Lt. Todd Moran thinks investigators know who it is.
He hopes an arrest can be announced soon.
Two taggers using the moniker "Hurt" and "Sur" have been hitting various properties around the city and Moran said they worked to figure out the identity of the alleged vandals.
Last month they arrested Steven Johnson, 23, charging him with seven counts of criminal mischief in the second degree.
"We can add those victims together and actually increase the severity of the crime into a felony status. We do that pretty regularly. We are successful at determining who the individuals are," Moran said.
Right now investigators believe "Sur" may have tagged the Caveman Bridge as early as Dec 26th which may or may not related to a previous graffiti incident.
Moran said the department works diligently to discourage the hallmarks of graffiti work - attention.
They avoid releasing pictures of incidents to the public to eliminate a platform for their work.
"We want to make sure they don't get their notoriety," Moran said. "It's not as fun spending all their time and money putting one of these on a wall if the next day it's gone."
GPDPS uses unmarked patrol cars, extra patrols as well as school resource officers to gather intel to make an arrest.
"Most of them are young males," Moran said.
The Old Antique Mall, the Josephine County Fairgrounds, and the F Street 'old west' historical mural are all properties hit recently.
"Sometimes we don't see the (graffiti) right away and it's hard to determine when they were actually done," Moran said. "It's always nice to catch them in the act but we can catch them with good investigations."
Inspectors from the Oregon Department of Transportation are expected to be out on Tuesday looking at the Caveman bridge to see if they can properly remove the graffiti following the $5 million upgrades, that prior to the tagging, changed the color of the concrete from a dull grey to sparkling clean.
"It's important to us," Moran said. "It is a livability issue. It leads to good economic growth in the city and makes people feel safe when they don't see graffiti plastered around town."
Moran said the department is making graffiti investigations a priority.
"We don't want to be one of those towns where all you see is graffiti so we're actually pretty aggressive on identifying who these individuals are and prosecuting it," Moran said.
Anyone with information on local graffiti tagging is encouraged to contact the Public Safety Department at (541)-450-6260.