Metro-East News

Belleville leaders not alarmed about rash of new downtown graffiti

Graffiti on Belleville City Hall, Meredith Home

Taggers spray-painted the front of Belleville City Hall on South Illinois Street and the south side of the nearby city-owned Meredith Home. A city worker had the paint cleaned off early Wednesday.
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Taggers spray-painted the front of Belleville City Hall on South Illinois Street and the south side of the nearby city-owned Meredith Home. A city worker had the paint cleaned off early Wednesday.

City leaders said they were a little annoyed but not worried about graffiti that appeared overnight in downtown Belleville.

On Wednesday morning city workers removed spray-painted vandalism from both Belleville City Hall and the former Meredith Home on the Public Square.

Mayor Mark Eckert said he doesn’t think the graffiti is related to an explosion of spray paint vandalism taking place across the river in St. Louis despite an “STL” tag on one of the buildings.

“I don’t think it’s a real big problem,” Eckert said. “I think we’ve seen less of it in the last few years than in the first few years I was mayor.”

Police said Wednesday that they are looking for surveillance camera photos or video that reveals the vandals.

Sgt. Mark Heffernan stopped short of ruling out gang-related motivations for the graffiti.

“We just took the report this morning, it is unknown whether it is gang-related,” Heffernan said. “These type(s) of cases are usually associated with juvenile offenders, but we are not ruling anyone out at this point.”

The spray paint on City Hall appears to say “Sorce.” The S is stylized to look like a snake with its tongue stuck out. The paint on the Meredith Home is similar but with “STL” painted below “Sorce.”

A trip on any of the interstates through downtown St. Louis reveals colorful graffiti anyplace vandals can climb. Police in April arrested David Cox, 33, of St. Louis, who they said is responsible for spray painting the word “Super” all over the city and in the metro-east.

“Super” is tagged on buildings, underpasses and several places on the Illinois side of the Poplar Street Bridge complex as well as on construction equipment on the Eads Bridge.

Eckert said he doesn’t believe the graffiti is gang-related. He said it is more likely the work of teenagers who are out later now that school is out.

“It’s not unusual to have a little burst of this sort of thing at the end of the school year when the kids have a little bit of extra energy to burn off,” Eckert said.

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