Graffiti vandals hit Loudon

Vicky Newman-News-Herald

City of Loudon workers preparing to decorate the town in lights for the holiday season were first forced to clean up graffiti throughout the town.

Taxpayers will be footing the bill for repainting, scrubbing and removing of the vandalism.

Mark Harrell, parks and recreation director, told council members that the vandalism that had occurred the previous week was the worst the city had seen in awhile.

The vandals, believed to be youths, hit the Loudon bridges, the caboose parked at the Chamber of Commerce Depot building and restrooms in Legion Park.

"It was a mess," Harrell said. "It costs several thousand to repaint everything. It wasn't just us they targeted. They went through all of Loudon."

Loudon Police Department Detective Bryant Jenkins said he would appreciate tips from anyone in the community who could help them identify the culprits.

"They think it is cute. It is an ongoing ordeal, an endless struggle. We clean it up and they do it again," Jenkins said. "A lot of times people are reluctant to talk, but we could use some help."

Loudon police also are investigating a series of burglaries that happened on Highway 11. "We think they hit early Monday, about 3:30 a.m. and got all three within an hour or so," Jenkins said.

The businesses burglarized were Brewster's Lawn Care, Piney Outfitters and Loudon Auto Mart, Jenkins said. The burglars took cash, a handgun, a chain saw and a few other items, but "generally left a mess," Jenkins said.

Evidence was collected from the scenes and police are working with Blount County law enforcement to process fingerprints and solve the case.

To report information on either of these cases, call 408-0408.