Graffiti rears its ugly head again

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Dukes Laundromat owner Michael Kapur has been in business since August of 2005. Last Thursday between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. someone defaced the side of his business with spray paint. He called the police but knew that no one was going to get caught.

Graffiti and juvenile delinquency apparently is a way of life for business owners in the 4300 block of Duke Street.

It was the first time the laundromat had been hit, Kapur said, but not the first time he had been affected by juveniles who live nearby. Kapur said he has a growing list of kids banned from his laundromat.

Another victim from that evening was the Fuddruckers next door. Illegible to the untrained eye, the black cursive squiggles will need to be power washed with chemicals within 15 days or the business will be subject to a fine by the city.

Tempo Restaurant was last spray painted four months ago. Apart from that, the tags have been only occasional because, said owner Wendy Albert, they are terrorized by other methods. One time, she said, she had purchased outdoor patio chairs and tables, left for a few minutes and returned to find the tables in front of her restaurant missing a few chairs.

These kids just dont care, she said, referring to the penalties if caught defacing private property. When I put up Christmas lights, they tear them down. A week before Valentines Day I put big red hearts all over that big tree in the front and by Valentines Day they were all stolen.

Alberts husband, Sergio said, When the weather gets nice and customers sit and eat by the window, kids will run up to the windows and pull their pants down and run away.

If the damage to a building is less than $1,000 it is a misdemeanor, but in excess of $1,000, perpetrators may be punished by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Other businesses such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Pier 1 Imports have been spray painted, but each owner or manager spoken to said that because of improvements like the new Fox Chase Shopping Center and Cameron Station, the neighborhood was slowly getting better, not worse.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, said Dwayne Brown, a resident of the Fields apartment complex near the laundromat. These kids lack leadership and there aint nobody to give it to them.

To report graffiti online, go to http://alexandriava.gov/police/pd_report_incident.php.

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