Lakewood business urged to 'repent' by graffiti vandal

Owner Martin Lansky and a volunteer clean off the front of the Mission Boutique store
Owner Martin Lansky and a volunteer clean off the front of the Mission Boutique store
Image of apparent suspect from Mission Boutique surveillance camera
Image of apparent suspect from Mission Boutique surveillance camera
Graffiti on the side of Mission Boutique Tuesday morning
Graffiti on the side of Mission Boutique Tuesday morning
Spray paint on the back of the Mission Boutique
Spray paint on the back of the Mission Boutique

LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - A clothing store in Lakewood was the target of a vandal early Tuesday morning, the second time someone spray painted graffiti on the side of the store over the past few months.

"This is the second time they've done it, so it's obvious that they're damaged in some way," said Martin Lansky, the owner of The Mission Boutique in Lakewood.

Lansky said the surveillance video appeared to show a woman spray painting the side of the building.

He said it looked like the same person who tagged the store a few months ago, but this time, he showed Cleveland 19 surveillance video that showed the suspect's face.

Lansky said he didn't recognize the suspect, and didn't know why she would have targeted his store.

"It appears to be somebody who's religiously motivated, a lot of references to Jesus and repent so apparently they have a big problem with Halloween," said Lansky.

He said that it seemed like the suspect focused on specific parts of the Halloween-themed front window display.

The graffiti said things like "Jesus Saves" it also used derogatory terms to describe women, especially employees of the alternative clothing store.

The incident happened just about a mile from where swastikas were painted on a sidewalk and a driveway over the summer in Lakewood.

Cleveland 19 asked the Lakewood police department if there were similarities between the two instances.

A captain with the department said they don't appear to be connected. He said, first of all,  the graffiti on the boutique was not a hate crime.

Cleveland 19 was told that the police department hasn't seen an increase in the number of graffiti incidents over the past year.

The only similarity seems to be the positive community response to the graffiti incidents.

Two volunteers, who shop at the store on a regular basis, saw that the shop had been targeted and showed up to help remove the graffiti.

"I just threw on clothes and came over here as soon as we could try to help clean up," said Brittany Lewkowski. She said she shops at the alternative clothing store every week and felt helping with the clean up was the least she could do.

She used graffiti remover and paint donated from the Sherwin Williams store next door to remove the graffiti within hours.

Lakewood Police said they don't yet have a suspect in the case, anyone with information is asked to contact the Lakewood Police Department. 

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