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Missions’ graffiti case needs to send loud message

July 11, 2018

Graffiti on public or private property in any amount is unacceptable.

It creates eyesores, devalues property and is costly to remove or cover up.

But it becomes even more egregious when paint is sprayed on historic buildings, as was done recently on part of UNESCO’s San Antonio Missions World Heritage site at the San José and San Juan missions.

Three young adults, ages 19-21, have been charged in the crime and are each facing a maximum of up to two years in state jail and a $10,000 fine. The vandalism in this case is considered a state felony because the missions are classified as places of worship or public monuments.

The destruction of the public property was captured on security camera video, which was turned over to police. After the video was made public, one of the defendants turned himself in and named one of his accomplices, and that second suspect identified the third.

It was fortunate the vandalism was captured on video. Graffiti is often an unprosecuted crime because most vandals operate in darkness and their handiwork is only discovered after the fact.

Graffiti reparation is not just about the cost of removing unwanted markings.

In the case of the historic San Antonio missioners it included the services of a company that has been working on preserving the mission. The removal of the spray paint from the facade of the church required them to remove a layer of plaster, the Express-News reported.

Defacing 18th century buildings with graffiti merits prosecution to the full extent of the law.

This case needs to send a loud and clear message that messing with the San Antonio missions will not be tolerated.

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