Graffiti backpack encourages crime, police say

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SOUTH SALT LAKE -- A website offering graffiti-utility backpacks is selling out, and angering people who think the product sends the wrong message.

James Adamson has lived and rented property in a South Salt Lake neighborhood for nearly 50 years. He's been dealing with graffiti on his duplex for a while now and he's sick of it.

"You can find it anywhere you go, down the street against the garage down here and the fences over there," he said.

Adamson discovered kids can buy graffiti packs online. So far, police say they haven't seen the backpacks in Utah.

"Well, this is just really cool," he said. "A graffiti pack. Just wonderful for all of our nice friends to carry around and then in a moment or two just shoot everybody's walls and property up."

Adamson knows the process very well because when his walls are "tagged" with graffiti, he calls the police and the city cleans it up. But as soon as the walls are painted, the cycle begins again.

South Salt Lake police say the backpacks encourage criminal behavior and it's costing Utahns money.

Officer Gary Keller said, "I actually went to this website and looked at a few of the pictures and videos on there. The people that are on the videos are actually wearing masks and have sun glasses on. They refer to themselves as criminals."

In 1996 lawmakers approved stricter penalties for graffiti. Offenders face fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and possible prison time.

Adamson just wants the taggers to clean up the walls. He says cleanup is expensive and tax dollars are paying for it now.


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