KENNEBUNK, Maine — After his restaurant and other businesses were tagged with graffiti this week, David “Duffy” Cluff, owner of Duffy’s Tavern & Grill, said it’s “discouraging.”
Kennebunk police are investigating the graffiti, with the word “knaz” spray painted on businesses, vehicles and dumpsters. In addition to Duffy’s Tavern & Grill, located in downtown Kennebunk, two other businesses — one on Water Street and one in Lower Village — work vans, and a dumpster at a residential apartment building on Grove Street also were tagged, said Deputy Police Chief Dan Jones.
“We haven’t seen this type of graffiti happen in town for a long time. I remember 10 or 15 years ago we had a problem where we were seeing a lot of it, but then it went away, and we haven’t seen it for quite some time now. To see it starting up again is discouraging. We are hoping it doesn’t become a chain event,” Cluff said. “It defaces the community. It puts an image on the community that you don’t want visitors to see. We’ve worked so hard to make our downtown beautiful and then you see buildings tagged with graffiti?”
Those at Duffy’s say police noticed the tagging at about 2 a.m. Monday after the last employee left at 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Police believe the other tagging occurred over that evening as well, Jones said.
“It’s not an everyday crime here,” Jones said.
Police are investigating, and Jones said they have a suspect in mind after receiving feedback from the community. Cluff said Duffy’s posted a picture on their Facebook page and received feedback as well.
“We got a lot of feedback from various sources saying there is one particular person who everybody thinks it is,” Jones said. “We’re going to look into the leads that we do have.”
Jones said this particular suspect has been charged previously with criminal mischief in Kennebunk. The charge is a misdemeanor for damage under $2,000 and a felony for damage over $2,000, Jones said.
Areas in Saco have been hit by the “knaz” tag as well, Jones said, and the departments are working together.
Cluff said he and his landlord are working to clean up the two tags on the Main Street building. They are going to attempt to remove the tags with a power washer, and if that does not work, they will have to hire a company that specializes in graffiti removal, Cluff said.
“It’s just something that detracts from your business and then you wonder if customers think is this a place we really want to go? For the locals, no, but for a visitor out of town if they see that on a building, it might enter their minds,” Cluff said.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Kennebunk Police Department at 985-6121.