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20 homes, other property in Kalamazoo neighborhood tagged with graffiti

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Kristi Breisach was shocked when she drove through her neighborhood Sunday morning. She was headed to the gym when she saw graffiti everywhere.

“I just drove down Potter street, and I usually don’t go that way, but was just shocked to see 6 or 7 houses right in a row just tagged,” said Breisach. “My boyfriend told me actually that there were 20 houses and vehicles I think that got tagged.”

Her boyfriend was right. According to a report by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, 20 houses, a vehicle and other property in the Vine neighborhood were tagged with graffiti, specifically along West Vine, South Park, West Dutton and Potter streets. A few dumpsters and trees were hit too.

“Somebody tagged a lot of things with black spray paint,” said resident Michael Hewitt. “The police found a cap to a paint can there and they took that as evidence.”

When police arrived they immediately launched an investigation, taking pictures of all the graffiti. They said it happened at 4 a.m. Sunday morning and the suspect ran away when a resident caught them.

"We have to live in this neighborhood," said resident Kebby Ali. "Look around, this our creation around us so why destroy it. It's senselessness."

Neighbors believe the vandalism was done by someone not from the area. Ali said the neighborhood, which is lined with single-family homes and some Victorian-style houses, is mainly occupied by families and a few college students.

“People work hard and college students have to live here,” said Ali. “They come to Kalamazoo to go to Western for the first time and then this is what they see in the neighborhood? They shouldn’t have to see this.”

Ali was upset that this happened. Most residents were. Police said repairs could cost them thousands of dollars. Ali hopes the police catch who did this and make him or her clean it all up on their own.

“I want them to be taught a lesson that this isn’t right,” said Ali. “This is not where their future should be you know, tagging buildings. This is not an art wall.”

Breisach, 29, isn’t taking any chances. She's installing a new $450 camera-security system at her home the day after the vandalism happened. She said her house was not tagged but she’s had issues in the past with loitering. On a occasion, she’s come home to see a crumpled carton of cigarettes on her front steps and her flower plants moved around. Someone’s even defecated in her backyard.

“I hope I don’t have to review the security cameras and call the cops and have someone arrested for just like sitting down on my porch,” said Breisach.  “Seems like no big deal but the reality is that’s my personal property. I pay for it and it’s a security issue when they’re rifling through my plants and things. I just want to feel safe.”

KDPS asks that if you have any information regarding the incident to please call (269) 337-8994.

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