Graffiti vandals strike North GA art facility - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Arrested made in vandalism at Dalton art facility

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UPDATE:  A 29-year-old Dalton man surrendered to police Thursday for the July vandalism at the Creative Arts Guild in Dalton, according to a news release from the Dalton Police Department.

A warrant had been issued for Jose Becerril-Crespo after the vandalism, in the form of graffiti, was discovered in late July.

Becerril-Crespo turned himself in at the Whitfield County Jail.

DPD Detective Chris Tucker received an anonymous tip, which led to developing a lead in the case.  

After further investigation, Tucker determined that Becerril-Crespo was the person responsible for the graffiti and obtained a warrant for Becerril-Crespo’s arrest.

He is charged with criminal damage to business property in the second degree.

PREVIOUS STORY: Graffiti vandals strike, of all places, at an art facility in Northwest Georgia. Dalton Police are asking for the public's help in finding who's responsible for defacing the Creative Arts Guild. The damage was done overnight into Monday morning, but the non-profit says the culprit paid another visit Thursday.

The Creative Arts Guild has been a staple in the Dalton community for more than 50 years and the non-profit says it's never fallen victim to this sort of disrespectful crime.

"I don't understand why it happened," Creative Arts Guild Administrative Assistant Debbie Douglas said.

Creative Arts Guild employees and supporters were shocked to find black spray-painted images covering several walls around the Waugh Street facility.

"It was kind of hurtful when we first saw it. It's really close to my heart," supportive artist Dr. Dan DeFoor said.

Workers quickly covered most of it with temporary paint while they special-order the matching paint from out of state. One area, though, needs sand blasting. Total cleanup costs are estimated around $1,500.

"It's just a shame we can't spend our money for arts and education rather than to repair for the building for something that not have been," Douglas  said.

Douglas found another surprise on the front doors of the Guild when she got to work Thursday morning.

"I just walked up at 9 o'clock this morning and this is what I found on the door," she said.

This time the spray paint was on a canvas and with a title in familiar writing.

"It's the same writing. It's the very same penmanship without question," Douglas said.

Dalton Police think the tagger is trying to spread an artistic message, but going about it illegally by trespassing and committing vandalism.

"We take it very seriously and it doesn't matter if it's a gang tag or a tag somebody did with an artistic intent in mind," Dalton Police Department Public Information Officer Bruce Frazier said.

"There are rules that graffiti artists follow and I understand what the people are saying. I have a certain kinship to it, however, there are rules that you follow, that you don't tag facilities like this," Dr. DeFoor said.

The non-profit and police hope the vandal hears their message and doesn't come back a third time.

"Whatever message you're trying to get across this is definitely not the way," Frazier said.

"There was no point of you messing up the building or making extra work. We don't have the time nor the resources," Douglas said.

You're asked to call the Dalton Police Department if you know who did it or what it means, because that could point them in the right direction. Contact Detective Chris Tucker at (706) 278-9085 (dial 9 and then enter extension 165).

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