Dozens Of Businesses Vandalized With Graffiti

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (KPTM) - Dozens of properties in south Omaha were vandalized overnight. Police arrested 23-year-old Daniel Melendez and cited two others.

Most of the locations were businesses and the owners say enough is enough.

Leroy Tichota is frustrated. His business, A-1 Auto Parts has been vandalized dozens of times with graffiti. "Very, very, very upsetting because all they're doing is destroying somebody else's property."

He says they're tagged on average 6 to 8 times a year. They spend countless hours and dollars cleaning it up. To put a stop to it, they even posted signs offering a cash reward to anyone who has information leading to an arrest. But the vandals didn't care. They spray painted the sign anyway. "We've been doing it so many years with the signs up we just thought we'd get some help and it hasn't turned out yet, we just keep getting the graffiti."

Wednesday night nearly 20 locations were tagged. Most of which were businesses in south Omaha. Tichota says he hopes the police department will now monitor the area closer. "They try hard but there's just to few police out there to keep up with all the gang activity."

Taqueria El Bajio is on the corner of 20th and Vinton. They have only been open a few weeks and they say graffiti on the building could impact their business. "Why would you do that first of all and why all these buildings? Like grab a piece of paper or something and spray paint that or go to your garage," Vanessa Vallecillo says.

And she says this isn't the first time they've been hit. "After a week of opening they spray painted us, it just got cleaned up yesterday and my brother was here until about 9:15 and when I passed by at 10 it's spray painted again."

Something she hopes police will put an end to. "It's really frustrating to have to keep seeing that and for our customers to come in and see this building all graffitied and everything so yes it upsets us all," Vallecillo says.

To combat the graffiti problem in Omaha, the Graffiti Task Force urges you to call the Mayor's hotline if you see it. That number is 402-444-5555.