LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Graffiti scattered across downtown Lufkin buildings is a growing problem. The city says they're fed up and now they mean business.
"I kept hearing a noise, some shaking of a can outside, so I decided to get up and go and look and see what was going on," said a seamstress at Mr. G's who didn't want to be identified for fear of her safety.
She said in broad daylight, she found a man in the alley shoving a paint can in his pocket. His tagging was half finished.
"It was scary to open that door after I thought about it, to open that door and he's standing there," she explained. "He could've knocked me in the head."
It's an increasing problem in Lufkin, vandals spraying graffiti all over downtown buildings. The city said it hasn't always been this bad.
"We have one particular building down here that the owner had to paint over it three times," said Main Street Lufkin Director Barbara Thompson.
"Graffiti is a continuing problem particularly during the summer," explained Lufkin Police Department Detective J.B. Smith. "Most of our graffiti seems to happen through young people and during the summer, they're out of school with less time to occupy."
They've already repainted doors downtown once from last year's graffiti. Police said vandals could face a hefty fine or even jail time.
"As little as a fine of $1 to $500 or up to felony offense depending on the damage caused by it," said Smith.
The city said fixing the same problem over and over is getting old.
"Main Street fundraises, so with the money that we're using to fundraise, where we really can be doing something of substance, we are just having to go back and repaint the buildings," said Thompson.
From a Lufkin downtown rooftop, illegal artwork litters the view and the city said they've had enough.
"If you're out there, if they could hear me, you will be caught eventually," said Thompson.
"Please stop it," said a seamstress. "You have no business tearing up other people's property. They work too hard to obtain it, so just go buy something of your own and tear it up."
If you do see graffiti or someone vandalizing property, call your local police department.