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Chronic Graffiti Vandal Costs Tosa East Dearly

Damage mounts to more than $2,000 as tagger trashes boys bathrooms again and again.

An isolated case of scribbling on school walls is not normally enough to warrant an investigation, but staff at called police after daily acts of vandalism over two weeks had socked the school with more than $2,000 in cleanup costs.

According to a police report filed March 21 – the same day officers were summoned – school officials had had enough when they returned that day to find a boys bathroom once again defaced with a wide-tipped blue permanent marking pen, apparently by the same perpetrator.

School staff said the miscreant was "taunting" them with the message, "I'm back," written repeatedly on bathroom stalls and walls.

East Principal Nick Hughes said Monday the offender had not yet been caught and the vandalism has continued, "but to a lesser extent. I believe the last incident was Wednesday after school."

Hughes described the graffiti as "some sort of caricature, and he signs himself 'Blockhead.'

"I've talked to the school resource officer and other staff, and we've asked teachers to watch for any writing or artwork that might look like what we're seeing," Hughes said. "We've stepped up monitoring of the bathrooms, and we're watching more closely to narrow down who might be in the hallways at any given time."

According to the police report:

The vandal had struck every boys bathroom in the school, previously with a black marker, over a period of two weeks, and that much of the graffiti consisted of scribbled wavy lines, apparently intended to spread the damage over as much surface as possible.

Much of the damage cannot be cleaned off but requires the surface to be repainted. As of the time of the report, efforts to hide or remove the damage had cost more than $2,000.

Whoever is doing the deed is not making himself a folk hero, either. According to school officials, a number of male students have complained about the condition of the bathrooms.

If caught, the vandal will no doubt earn more than a detention. Now that the police are involved, it's likely that a hefty citation and possibly restitution will be in order.

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