Police are asking for help finding the vandals who destroyed downtown art

By Leah Murray
June 20, 2018 - 4:16pm Updated: June 20, 2018 - 6:57pm

 

MEDICINE HAT – Medicine Hat Police are asking the public for help in identifying who vandalized the artwork recently painted in the pedestrian tunnel downtown.

Investigators say sometime between Monday June 18th and Tuesday June 19th, one or more people used spray paint to scrawl hateful messages all over the murals.

“It's a despicable, foolish, criminal act,” said Inspector Joe West. “A great deal of energy has gone into beautifying our downtown to make it feel safe and certainly when somebody comes and vandalizes a piece of artwork, it's terrible.”

Just last month, artists worked to refresh the space creating beautiful new works of art. They’ve now been working around the clock to repair and cover the hate filled graffiti.

“Whoever did this tried to swat at everybody,” said Dina Jubrek with the Medicine Hat Art Club. “They did LGBTQ offensive stuff, they did swastikas, they did white supremacist support ideas.”

For the art community the destruction is heartbreaking.

“Knowing how much work, how many hours, how much money goes in to taking care of these things and bringing them out to public view, it's devastating to see all this ruined,” said artist Rina Oliva.

“It was quite horrendous,” said Spencer Pleskie with the Street Art Works Association. “They must have been down here for a while for sure.”

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or persons responsible for the damage.

“This is one of those instances where we could really use the help of the public,” West said. “If there was somebody that saw any sort of suspicious activity they can certainly call Crime Stoppers.”

As for the local art clubs, they say they will continue to come back and repair the damage done by vandals.

“Although it's been vandalized, the project is still alive,” said Jubrek. “People understand the value in it, the value of keeping it nice and the right way, which is [as] art and not hate.”

Crime Stoppers can be reached by calling 1-800-222-8477.

GSA court challenge underway in Medicine Hat