Business owners hit with graffiti could also get hit with fine - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Business owners hit with graffiti could also get hit with fine

In Louisville, if a business does not clean up graffiti fast enough, they may be subject to a fine. (Source: WAVE 3 News) In Louisville, if a business does not clean up graffiti fast enough, they may be subject to a fine. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Scott Williamson, the Chief Operations Officer with KFI Seating (Source: WAVE 3 News) Scott Williamson, the Chief Operations Officer with KFI Seating (Source: WAVE 3 News)
KFI had a local artist put up this mural to try and deter graffiti vandals. (Source: WAVE 3 News) KFI had a local artist put up this mural to try and deter graffiti vandals. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
KFI caught one vandal on its surveillance cameras. (Source: KFI) KFI caught one vandal on its surveillance cameras. (Source: KFI)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It is an increasing problem in the city of Louisville: businesses being victimized first by graffiti vandals and then taking a second hit from the city.

If they do not clean up someone else's crime fast enough, the business may be subject to a fine.

>>> WATCH: Connie's report here

Some say the penalties for graffiti vandals and taggers need to get a lot tougher.

"We own this building and the one behind it, and we've made a lot of improvements," Scott Williamson, the Chief Operations Officer with KFI Seating explained.

The partners behind furniture maker KFI are proud of the Bank Street company. It gives back to Portland charities, and 80% of employees live in the neighborhood. Despite two decades of dedication, graffiti vandals will not leave them alone.

"We've been getting our buildings graffitied probably for about 18 years now," Williamson said. That is 170,000 square feet spray painted and thousands of dollars every year to keep taking it off.

Williamson said of the process, "You have to buy a certain chemical, then you have to spray the chemical down."

KFI tried everything, including advice from neighbor and gallery owner Tim Faulkner, who said graffiti vandals respect buildings with murals. So, KFI added a mural.

"A local artist put this up," Williamson said pointing to the artwork surrounding a quote from Abraham Lincoln. The mural looks great but, it didn't work.

"We just sandblasted some graffiti down the side and as soon as we took it off, a week later they come back and graffitied it all over again," Williamson said.

KFI caught one vandal on its surveillance cameras.

On Sept. 8, a man with dark hair is seen on the side of the building. He had his spray paint ready at 3:31 in the morning.

But if vandals are not caught in the act or turned in, there is not a lot police can do. The crime is a misdemeanor.

If the business does not clean it up in 30 days, city inspectors can fine them.

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Codes and Regulations is also in a tough spot. The city office is required to keep buildings presentable.

Deputy Director Donald Robinson Junior told us by phone, they will work with businesses owners as much as they can to resolve the problem without a fine.

Williamson is not satisfied with that response. "They really have to come up with something as far as getting the graffiti off and spend less time going after the business owners and saying they're going to fine us and spend more time trying to find the guys that are doing this," he said.

The Louisville Metro Police Department encourages people to call their anonymous police tip line at 502-574-LMPD (5673) with any information about graffiti vandals.

Many people contacted for this story believe lawmakers need to make the penalties tougher before anything changes.

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