Artists repair Camden mural as police search for vandals who added graffiti

New Jersey artists work to remove graffiti from Camden mural

New Jersey artists work to remove graffiti from Camden mural


CAMDEN, N.J. – Police in Camden are searching for the vandals who targeted a mural showcasing the city’s history.

Brein Mortez, Don Williams and Priscilla Rios spent six months painting the mural, located at 1700 Admiral Wilson Boulevard. They finished their work in February. Less than a month later, it is covered with graffiti.

“[I’m] pretty upset, literally enraged, but I’m trying to contain it,” Mortez said. “Right now I’m thinking of all of our options to make sure that we can preserve our mural and keep our artwork going here.”

The mural honors community leaders from the 1980s and ’90s, like Randy Primas, the City of Camden’s first Black mayor. It also features Father Bob McDermott from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, crime prevention advocate Connie Williams, social justice advocate Rosa Ramirez and former NFL running back Mike Rozier.

“I was a little distraught about it, especially since I’ve put in a lot of work into the realism that it took for Mayor Primas and also the part of the swirls that helped make the mural cohesive,” Rios said.

On Monday, the artists were relieved to discover they could lift the graffiti without further damaging the mural underneath. Williams said detectives believe two people are responsible. Police told CBS News Philadelphia they’ve identified a 17-year-old person of interest from Hopewell, New Jersey.

“From what we understand, we got them on film and we got their license,” said Williams. “So hopefully we’ll be able to track them down.”

The artists are vowing not only to clean up but to expand their mural and continue honoring the city’s heroes.

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