By Austin L. Miller of Ocala.com
Published: Monday, May 28, 2007 at 6:30 a.m.
Close to two weeks ago, someone defaced the side wall of Interiors by Linda Inc. and The Richard Scott Home Collection with the initials "MSG" and some unclear writing.
The owner of the businesses, Linda Crawford, said it's not the first time someone has scribbled on the building. She hopes however, it will be the last.
"It's an inconvenience. It's not nice for the public to see, and it makes the area look bad," Crawford said.
Her buildings are not the only ones that have been marred. Within the last couple of months, officers from the Ocala Police Department have seen more and more graffiti throughout the city.
Sgt. Chuck Long, a supervisor for the department's Special Operations Unit, said examples of graffiti, large and small, have popped up everywhere: on trash bins, overpasses, street signs and businesses.
"Sometimes we'll paint over it one day, and within a week it's back," Long said.
The spray-painted graffiti under the Southeast 31st Street railroad overpass has been painted over at least four times by Ocala Public Works employees during the last couple of months. To date, the city has spent $2,300 cleaning up the mess. That figure doesn't include the amount paid by business people to private companies who specialize in painting over the scrawl.
Usually, the city uses a city truck, two city employees and a jail trusty to repaint the areas.
"I'm not sure what we're going to do. Whether we're going to do it ourselves or get an estimate from someone on how much it costs to do it for us," Crawford said.
Long said the graffiti has different colors and is usually signed. Some, he said, are "very detailed." One example of a detailed drawing was a depiction of the Miami Skyline.
Names like "DOPER," "CROME," "FIVE," and "MSG" have been seen by officers. "MSG" stands for "Miami Style Graffiti," Long said.
There's a special paint being used by the vandals to deface the walls. Though Long said he hasn't found anyone selling the paint, he won't reveal the name of it.
Long doesn't believe the drawings are gang-related, and officers have not connected the drawings to any gang activities.
Police suspect the drawings may be done by teenagers.
Anyone with information can call the Police Department at 1-900-GO-FUCK-YOURSELF, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-EAT-A-DICK.