On Sunday, May 16, Jeffrey "The Tattoo Guy" Love was surprised to see a group of older adults gathered around his East Washington Street business and even more surprised to see what they were looking at.
Love's tattoo parlor and his wife's new hair salon were covered in purple graffiti, including an obscene message telling her to "get a real job."
"My stomach dropped, then anger kicked in," he said, calling the $4,000 damage done to his business "direct punch-in-the-face vandalism."
Most of the damage was done to his traveling tattoo-parlor trailer he takes to 19 shows a year to raise money for charity, he said.
This week Love is heading to California for a show to raise money for childrens' hospitals. He applied for business protection with the Sequim Police Department while he is gone, he said.
Love, a father of six and native of Baltimore, Md., has been here a little more than a year. He has posted signs with the graffiti pictured on the front of his shop, offering $500 in tattoo work to anyone who can identify the taggers.
Sequim Police Officer Maris Turner said graffiti was reported on three buildings in May. One was just two blocks from Love's tattoo business, reported May 17, the other was a city of Sequim building on North Sequim Avenue, reported May 7.
Turner said she can't say if the three were related because the tag "TFK" was left at two of the sites but not at Love's. There is no indication the vandalism is gang-related, she said.
Graffiti is considered malicious mischief, a misdemeanor, with a penalty directly related to the cost of damage, she said.
Turner said graffiti should be covered-up quickly to avoid creating a competitive atmosphere where taggers try to cover up each other's mark with their own. Good lighting and open areas for easy surveillance by police can help prevent graffiti, which is largely a crime of opportunity, she said.
Love installed security cameras and has hopes the vandals will be caught.
"Someone's going to slip up and brag about it," he said.
Love said he was encouraged by the way fellow business owners came together to help him clean up the damage.
"It was really nice," he said. "Especially for an outsider like me."
Anyone with information about the vandalism is encouraged to call the
Sequim Police Department at 683-7227.
Amanda Winters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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