The graffiti was first noticed Sunday morning.
Red, blue and black marks stained the storefronts of dozens of businesses in downtown Macon, indecipherable scrawls spray painted by one or more vandals.
On the golden yellow walls of C.R. Rader Jewelers, a mainstay in downtown for more than a century, it appeared as if someone was in motion while spray painting a long, red, squiggly line down the side of the building at Cherry Street and Cotton Avenue.
“I don’t want to give them any more publicity than we have to, because that’s what they want” said Richard Rader, owner of the jewelry store. “They want the attention.”
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A long fissure in the building, where time and gravity have caused its foundation to settle, was highlighted with a small blue arrow pointing from the word “crack.”
Rader said it wasn’t the first time his building has been vandalized.
“I haven’t been hit on the front of my building so much, maybe once or twice, but they were real bad about coming in the parking lot back there because they’re out of sight,” Rader said.
Bibb County sheriff’s detectives came by Monday morning seeking surveillance footage of the storefront, but Rader said he didn’t have cameras on the building’s exterior.
Sheriff David Davis said Monday evening there were no suspects and surveillance footage from other businesses wasn’t of much use.
“I would imagine that somebody knows something about this,” the sheriff said. “Let’s hope that we can catch whoever is responsible for this, and that will be someone that we will have out there cleaning it up. I promise you that.”
Rader said a detective told him the sheriff’s gang unit didn’t recognize any of the cryptic triangular symbols as gang signs.
Eric Wakefield, owner of Golden Bough Bookstore on Cotton Avenue, said he first saw the graffiti on Facebook.
“I don’t know what to think,” Wakefield said. “There’s not really much on my storefront. ... There’s definitely people that got it worse.”
While more concentrated around Cotton Avenue, from Lawrence Mayer Florists to the First Presbyterian Church, the graffiti also could be spotted as far away as Poplar Street.
Rader said he’d been in touch with NewTown Macon, a downtown booster, about getting the spray paint pressure washed.
Josh Rogers, president and CEO of NewTown Macon, said Graffiti hasn’t been an issue downtown in years.
“I’m guessing this was just a couple of individuals,” Rogers said. “I don’t think this is systemic or indicative of a change or anything else. I think it was just a one-off.”
More than a decade ago, NewTown Macon bought a pressure washer to clean up graffiti downtown.
While the county can’t use public employees to clean private property, there’s another option for business owners to get their stores clean.
People who have experience pressure washing, and who are willing to volunteer their time to help, can contact NewTown Macon about using the pressure washer, Macon-Bibb County spokesman Chris Floore said
“It’s awful to see someone defacing so much property; it’s an affront to the building and store owners in the area,” Floore wrote in an email to The Telegraph. “So much has gone into improving and revitalizing our downtown, and we hope there would be more respect for the people investing their time and effort there.”