Spray Painting, Vandalism and Criminal Mischief in Iowa

There have been reports of spray painting vehicles and buildings in Luana and Farmersburg, Iowa, over the past six months.

Steve Trumblee, investigator with the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department, said that there was some spray painting on the side of the Post Office wall and on the Co-op storage building door in Luana, in September 2007, but it wasn’t much. He also said that there was some spray painting at the Farmersburg cemetery during the summer.

Tonya Shepard of Farmersburg had her vehicle spray painted in September when visiting in Luana and was very upset by the incident.

“It was so embarrassing when I had to go and drop off my kids to school, I cried. At first I could not imagine how I was going to get it off, I thought about spraying over it,” she said.

The spraying usually features a heart, meaning love or loves to, and is followed with various unsavory comments, such as, “hearts to —- o,” “heart to pimp my ride,” and “heart you long time.”

Shepard reported the incident to the police and was told that it was criminal mischief. She was able to remove the paint with Mr. Clean Magic eraser which costs about $2. Trumblee suggested using a product called dissolve it, which smells like oranges and works on both buildings and vehicles.

Trumblee explained that these incidents are just kids being mischievous.
“We get our share of it here just like in the city,” he said.

He also pointed out that it is a difficult thing to solve unless someone sees a plate number and reports it; they don’t really leave any evidence. He pointed out that it is not a new trend; it is something kids have been doing for some time.

Mike Siebersma, Principal of Clayton Ridge Middle School in Garnavillo said that they had some toilet paper in their trees on Halloween, but they really haven’t seen anything else.

“It’s not anything malicious, it is just a way of saying hey I got you,” he explained.

Bradley Minger, a lieutenant with the Fayette Sheriff’s Department said that they have not seen any spray painting in their county that he knew of.

“We have had four paint ball incidents in the past year though,” he said.

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