Graffiti that appeared this week on a pumphouse in Naramata.

Graffiti that appeared this week on a pumphouse in Naramata.

Naramata now struck with bout of graffiti

Weeks after Penticton noticed a spike in tagging, community just up the road dealing with the same thing

Penticton isn’t the only community that has suffered a recent surge in graffiti.

Four locations around Naramata were hit last week, and Mounties suspect there’s a connection with a larger spree last month in the Peach City.

“What happens sometimes is when you put energy into one area, (taggers) get displaced to other areas, and I’m thinking that’s perhaps what may have happened,” said Penticton RCMP Staff Sgt. Kurt Lozinski.

He said police are gathering photos of graffiti in both communities and developing a “ledger,” so the “signatures” left behind by taggers can link them to their vandalism once caught.

“We’re hoping that with the support of the community we start identifying some of these people,” said Lozinski, adding, “more often than not, they’re younger kids doing it.”

Karla Kozakevich, who represents Naramata on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, said community members are frustrated by the vandalism.

“We take pride in keeping a beautiful community and attracting tourists, and then you have that,” she said.

Kozakevich said a witness watched two men apply the first tags last Sunday onto some concrete blocks near Manitou Park.

Then on Wednesday, residents awoke to find graffiti on a pumphouse and booster station near a public beach, and on a retaining wall at the elementary school.

“As far as I know, they’re just targeting public property, but still, everyone pays for it in the end,” Kozakevich said.

“The difficult thing is — my son included — the kids ask: ‘Why would somebody do that?’ And it’s a difficult question to answer.”

The community went through its last major round of graffiti in July 2012 when a wall at the Naramata Centre was covered with racial slurs and structures along the KVR Trail were tagged too.

The suspects spotted at Manitou Park are described as white males, each between 18 and 20 years old.

One was about six-foot-one and wearing a tank top, flat-brim hat and turquoise DC shoes, while the other was about five-foot-10 with short, dark hair, and had enlarged earlobes with black plastic rings in them.

Anyone who sees the suspects or other taggers in action is advised to call the RCMP.