Missoula business reacts to recent spree of vandalism

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MISSOULA — More downtown Missoula businesses have been vandalized with graffiti since the first incident on Thursday, January 25.

Grizzly Liquor, Peace of Mind and the Missoula Club are among a new line of downtown businesses tagged with graffiti symbols.

The exterior walls of Bodega Bar, Monk’s Bar and Import Market were spray painted on January 25.

Bodega employees recognized the symbol and the person caught on surveillance cameras, saying they have vandalized the area for the past three to four years.

Import Market store associate Madeline Stevenson saw the graffiti on Instagram Thursday morning.

The graffiti was not the first incident of vandalism against the store — the front window was only recently broken.

“Not again, really? Not again,” Stevenson recalls thinking when she first saw the graffiti.

The paint, while not preventing the store’s business too drastically, is a burden on the family-owned shop, according to Stevenson.

“It’s not cheap, rent is not getting any cheaper,” she says. “These people don’t realize how their actions affect us financially, but also with appearances because we don’t want to be that business that’s known for having half-hazard, mucky art work, so to speak, on the front of this building.”

The city has agreed to help Import Market remove the spray paint, as soon as the weather permits it.

However, Import Market has considered other options, such as painting a mural over the tag.

Stevenson posted the graffiti on the social media app, Reddit, and says she received pushback from certain community members who took the side of the spray painter.

“That’s great, I can understand where they’re coming from, but why do you have to go after a local business that makes profit off of purely our customers and word of mouth?”

Anyone with information about the suspect can contact the Missoula Police Department at 406-552-6300.

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