WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - In the past few weeks, Wrightsville Beach police have noticed a spike in graffiti tagging, according to WBPD Chief Dan House.
"It dropped off this time last year and we didn't have it for quite a while. Then all of a sudden it re-emerged. We're trying to find out who's responsible," Chief House said.
House said the main spot for tagging is the vacant Wrightsville Beach Food Mart.
The exterior walls of the building are covered in graffiti. Additionally, paint markings can be found on benches, trash cans, and even Johnny Mercers Fishing Pier.
The signature tag found grouped with the graffiti markings appears to be an encircled 'W'. House doesn't think the sign means anything serious.
"We've spoken with the different intelligence units that have come out and looked at it and they don't believe it's gang related or anything else. It's just senseless vandalism," House said.
The vandalism has become a big nuisance for business owners like Matthew Johnson, owner of Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier. His pier has been tagged multiple times with different spray paint symbols.
"It'd be best if the individuals that are doing it would just stop. It would be nice. At least keep the place clean for the rest of us," Johnson pleaded.
House said that no leads have been identified regarding the culprit(s).
He said punishments would be levied for anyone caught committing the crime. Additionally, he noted that the department has recently used extra patrols and undercover operations to try to find the suspects
"We're a beach community. It's a beautiful community and we want to keep it that way. We want visitors to come. When visitors see things like this, they don't want to come to our beach so absolutely its high priority for us," House said.
House asked that anyone with information about the graffiti taggings to please contact the Wrightsville Beach Police Department.