Two Teens Caught Spray Painting Garages In South Omaha

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - Omaha police caught two teenage boys Sunday night spray painting multiple garages in southeast Omaha.

With assistance from the police helicopter, officers said they were able to find nearly a dozen places the kids had tagged.

Homeowners tell Fox 42 News the problem is ongoing.

Those living on the street said graffiti is a common eyesore. Nearly every garage has been spray painted at one time or another.

One homeowner said she's cleaned up her garage dozens of times. She's sick of paying for it and said enough is enough.

"I am getting really tired of it. We've had our garage spray painted at least 100 times in the past four years. I've had to call the cops over and over. I've had my truck vandalized. My husband has had some of his property vandalized and I'm really getting tired of it," Aimee Martinez said.

"It's frustrating because you have to keep going out and painting it and then they come out and paint over it and mark some more over it and it's been a continuous problem."

Omaha Police Sergeant Anna Colon spends her days investigating graffiti. She said each day she gets 5 to 10 complaints from around the city, and she said tagging is a problem we shouldn't ignore. "Graffiti affects the community, more than just a piece of wall that has been defaced. When an individual sees graffiti on a business they automatically feel that's not a safe area to go to so that business is in turn going to lose customers," Sgt. Colon said.

And she said vandalism is typically a sign of a child seeking attention. "Graffiti is basically just a group of kids or an individual who wants to get their name out amongst their peers. So they may go out and tag an area that's a high visible area and the more dangerous that spot or more visible that location is, the higher their status is going to be amongst their peers."

And while these garages aren't in a visible area, Sgt. Colon said they are in a hot spot for tagging. "Generally in the southeast community is where we see the majority of the tagging but the rest of the community is not immune to it, it happens in affluent neighborhoods just as much as it happens in other parts of the community."

"This is our life and for someone to come by and ruin what we worked for, especially what my husband worked for, that is not right," Martinez said.

City officials encourage anyone that sees a graffiti problem to contact the mayor's hotline at 402-444-5555.

Omaha Police also ask anyone that sees someone tagging a building to call 911 immediately.

Police said they booked one teen for three counts of felony graffiti application. The other was cited and released on 10 counts.

Police said the investigation is ongoing. Officers are looking into whether the teens were involved in other cases.

"Like" Melina on Facebook and follow her on Twitter to stay connected.