WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Police are searching for a man caught on video spraying graffiti in several areas of downtown Wilmington.
WWAY reached out to several business owners to hear their thoughts on the vandalism.
Gene Vadies has owned Barouke Exotic Woods in the Old Wilmington City Market for more than two decades.
“Hopefully this is not the beginning of something bigger in Wilmington. The tourist district is the pearl of this city, and we’re all trying to keep it looking nice,” said Vadies.
Vadies also helps manage the market.
“This is bad for tourism,” Vadies said. “Because the tourists walk down the street and they see this, and they think ‘gee, the last time I’ve seen this is Philadelphia, or Newark, New Jersey.'”
Last week, a man who signs his work “The Creator” used spray paint to vandalize the market, along with several other businesses and structures in downtown Wilmington.
“It’s very hard to understand, it’s hard to read, the English is not very good, I don’t think he did very well in school,” said Vadies.
In addition to the market, graffiti signed ‘The Creator’ or simply ‘C’ has popped up at The George on the Riverwalk, the Market Street Parking Deck, and the Groove Jet Salon.
Most if not all of the graffiti has since been painted over, but one woman whose balcony overlooks the salon says someone re-sprayed the wall sometime before 3:00 a.m. Sunday.
Police have posted video of the suspect on social media, hoping someone can identify him. He appears to drive a white Ford Freestyle.
Vadies, who has lived in New York and says he’s seen his fair share of graffiti, says he has his own ideas about the creator.
“I would say a young person who doesn’t seem to fit in, he’s crying out for help, he is trying to develop some sort of identity,” said Vadies.
The George on the Riverwalk general manager Matt Babson released a statement to WWAY, saying: “We were very disappointed that this sort of thing still happens. We want to express our appreciation to WDI and the Downtown Ambassadors for painting over the graffiti for us, and we hope the police can identify the individual responsible soon.”
Groove Jet Salon owner Brandy Alexander also released a statement, saying: “Whoever is vandalizing our building through graffiti is just seeking to be heard on what they feel is important to them. I hope they choose to seek respectful person to person conversations to voice their views as well as hear others. Graffiti doesn’t solve someone feeling lonely but conversations at least allow a seat at the table to be heard.”
If you have any information, contact Wilmington Police.