Police search for suspect spray painting graffiti around Punta Gorda

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The Punta Gorda Police Department is searching for a man believed to be the one spray painting graffiti across the city.

In recent weeks graffiti tags spelling “besh” have been spotted on street signs, walls, utility boxes and other locations typically in downtown.

On Feb. 28, the Punta Gorda Police Department released pictures of the suspect behind the “besh” tags, as he was caught on a security camera tagging property at Ace Hardware.

Punta Gorda PD Graffiti.jpeg

Graffiti suspect vandalizing property at Ace Hardware.

Much of the graffiti is found on the walls and windows of the dilapidated Waterfront Hotel and the fence that surrounds it.

“It’s not not their property,” said Eric Burris, Public Information Officer for PGPD. “Street art is fine if you want to do it on your own property I suppose but this is public property that is paid for by the taxpayers and individual peoples property. So, it’s not okay its a crime.”

Although the graffiti constitutes misdemeanor crimes, the number of incidents has created a bigger problem.

“People didn’t move here to see that written all over traffic boxes and buildings and their private property so its an issue for everyone,” said Burris. “He could be charged with every one of these different cases.”

The graffiti, seen by anyone walking the harbor front, has people who live in the area perturbed.

“I’ve been down here for 22 years off an on, and this is the first time I’ve seen this,” said Tom Desimone. “It’s not art, its vandalism.”

“Punta Gorda is known for its street art and all the beautiful murals we have,” said Bob Ricker. “If he’s such an artist why doesn’t he tackle something like that instead of making it ugly with scribbles all over the place?”

PGPD is asking anyone who knows the identity of the suspect, or anyone spray painting illegally, to contact police at 941-575-5522 or detectives at abeltran@cityofpuntagordafl.com.

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