Bandit steals anti-graffiti supplies

Posted July 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm

By JOSHUA PHILLIPS
Northeast News
July 26, 2013

Supplies used to remove graffiti in the Historic Northeast have been stolen.

Kansas City City Council member Scott Wagner started the Graffiti Abatement Program in an effort to beautify the Northeast by eliminating graffiti that had been “tagged” on buildings. The city’s Gateway Crimes Task Force, chaired also by Wagner, established the Graffiti Abatement Program last July to eliminate “tagged” areas in Kansas City communities. One of the methods to abate graffiti includes painting murals over where taggings have occurred.

“Our mural staff members went out to where our supplies were stored and found the door had been kicked in and the supplies were gone,” said Alicia Gambino, director of Youth and Young Adult Services at the Mattie Rhodes Center. “We have filed a police report and let our funder be aware of what happened.”

Gambino said her staff had been gone for the last couple of days, and once they returned Friday, July 19, they noticed what had happened to their supplies. Among the supplies stolen include a rented city power washer used to remove the graffiti, paint brushes, painting trays, paint rollers and other items needed for the mural.

The project to abate one of the most frequently tagged hotspots was to paint a mural at Independence and Norton where the old Lexington Plumbing building stands.

The original design of the mural was to have “a map of the Northeast with the Northeast diamond of north, south, east and west areas of the community,” Gambino said. “This mural was supposed to tie everyone together with the different races and cultures we have living here in the Northeast.”

Before Gambino was employed by Mattie Rhodes, she was a community muralist for 10 years and in that time she said she has never had her supplies stolen. If Mattie Rhodes has to replace the city’s power washer, the losses they have to recover would be $1,100. If Mattie Rhodes does not have to replace the city’s power washer, then the losses they would have to recover total $800.

The staff for painting the mural includes apprentices from East and Northeast high schools, Gambino said. Those students learn key skills such as co-operation skills, researching skills and presentation skills, she said. Funding for this mural project has been provided by the Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

Anyone who has any information in regard to this case is encouraged to contact the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (816-474-8477).