LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - Downtown Lakewood business owners are on alert after a rash of vandalism in the area. Merchants are asking for help solving the problem.
"It hurts, it really does. It's not an expression of art. It's nothing more than vandalism," said David Stein, owner of two businesses in downtown Lakewood.
Stein is one of many business owners who are outraged by a rash of graffiti vandalism.
Authorities suspect the same group is committing the crime because each building had the same tag or design.
Ian Andrews, executive director of Lakewood Alive, says the graffiti was not derogatory, but still offensive to the community that takes pride in its beauty.
"It was all sorts of different symbols and whatever these taggers go by," said Andrews.
Most of the vandalism happened on the evening of July 3, but merchants worked quickly to remove it. The vandals tagged a string of businesses 24 times, including one of Stein's, where you can still see graffiti remains washing away. Stein says the vandals even climbed to the second story of the building to paint a wall that has been repainted yellow to cover the damage.
It's expensive damage to repair.
"It costs a lot of money. It's more time. It's more headache," said Stein.
Business owners are hoping for increased police patrols in the area until the suspects are found. In the meantime, it's back to business as usual.
"We're not going to stand for that. We won't allow it to mar the city," said Stein.