Three in custody after city graffiti bust -

Three in custody after city graffiti bust

(KMOV) -- Historic buildings, sidewalks, even planter pots were found covered in graffiti along Washington Avenue earlier this week.  The suspected vandals responsible for hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in damage have been arrested, according to the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis.

Evidence of the taggers' Tuesday morning spree wasn't just caught on the canvas they made out of this store front, the Partnership says its cameras also caught the vandals leaving their mark up and down Washington Avenue.

"I think everyone gets a little devastated," property manager Jessica Becker said the day she discovered the graffiti.  "It's our home and you're writing on our home; taking that away from us."

Vandals tagged 27 buildings, along with sidewalks, stairs, signs and even a man's van.

"It's kind of marking your territory," Becker said.  "It's almost like these people are dogs."

The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis says those people have been arrested, thanks to its network of surveillance cameras that captured the taggers in the act.

"The cameras were the critical piece that made the difference, and our organization helps fund those," Partnership for Downtown St. Louis President Maggie Campbell said.  "We're really excited about being able to fix the problem and then hopefully send a message to other people that we're not going to put up with this in our neighborhood."

After all, business owners and the people who call Washington Avenue home pay more to keep it looking nice.  Washington Avenue is part of a Community Improvement District.

"We pay for [police] bike patrol, we pay for cameras, we pay for graffiti abatement, we pay for landscaping," Campbell said.  "We are making our community cleaner and safer with our own dollars."

The Partnership used those dollars to recently install six new cameras, and Campbell says it hopes to soon add more.


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