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Vandals tag cars in east side apartment complex with graffiti

By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- People living in the San Mateo apartment complex on Viscount Boulevard said vandals marked several cars with graffiti about a week ago.

One woman, who did not want to give KFOX14 her name, said vandals tagged her white van with black spray paint on the front, back and sides of the vehicle. She said it happened overnight.

"I thought it was just my vehicle, and one of the neighbors told me that they did it to his car also. I looked around, and it was a bunch of other cars," she said.

The woman and a few other residents KFOX14 spoke with said about 20 cars in all areas of the apartment complex were affected, and most of them were white cars.

"I just hope whoever did this gets caught and they do time. I mean, it's not right. You know, people buy vehicles and [the vandals] go and damage their property," she said.

She also said she filed a police report about this incident.

While residents at San Mateo told KFOX14 they have not had to deal with graffiti like this before, it's a different story for businesses on the same block.

"I would say the last time we had it was around August or September. They might do it a couple of times, they stop, move onto another area and then come back," Hometown Buffet manager Ruben Salcido said.

The Hometown Buffet is a couple of buildings over from the apartment complex, and Salcido believes groups of teenagers are causing the damage.

"You see people putting their little marks or initials on every handicapped sign in the parking lot; mark their territory, I guess you could say," Salcido said.

Salcido also said the restaurant paints over the damage to the building, and the damage also happens at night.

"It's kind of a quiet area on this street. You don't have too much traffic, so at night there's not much going on," Salcido said.

The El Paso Transportation Department offers graffiti-removal services for free. The city said it receives about 100 requests a week, but crews clean up more after finding other graffiti sites in between requests.

The city cleans up both public and private property.

"When it's private, we request permission from the property owner to go inside and do the cleanup. We can also clean up vehicles," El Paso Transportation Director Ted Marquez said.

While no one KFOX14 spoke with from the restaurant or apartment complex said they have contacted the city for help, people can call 311 to request graffiti removal.

"If it's appropriate, we use a solution that can remove it. We can sometimes blast it with a solution like baking soda," Marquez said.

Marquez said the city can also paint over damage to property and cars, and five crews of two workers handle the removal services.

"I think that removing it increases the pride of a neighborhood, attracts businesses, and makes sure not to attract violence," Marquez said.



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