Three men are facing charges of mischief after they were caught graffiti tagging, with paint still on their hands, by police in Nanaimo.
The incident occurred at about 9 p.m. Feb. 15, in Maffeo Sutton Park, according to a Nanaimo RCMP press release. Police responded after they were alerted by a witness who saw the three men spray-painting throughout the park.
When police arrived on scene the three men, ages 32 to 36, tried to flee, but other officers managed to catch all three and arrest them for mischief. Officers found a number of fresh tags in paint matching the paint on the hands and clothing of the suspects. Police also found several utility boxes and garbage cans that had been freshly tagged. Items seized from the suspects included nine cans of spray paint, a number of black markers and dozens of various size spray nozzles.
All three men were released from custody while the investigation continued.
“The officers are consulting with city officials before laying charges to determine the actual cost to remove the paint and restore the property to its original state,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release.
Every year, graffiti tags on public and private property cost thousands of dollars and many hours to remove, the release noted. Some items are permanently defaced and must be replaced. Police say citizens concerned about graffiti tags in their neighbourhoods should contact the city’s bylaws department, which can provide free graffiti wipes and instructions on graffiti removal.