EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 19, 2013

Graffiti gone

Jail inmates wash away tags from recent spree

HAVERHILL — Many of the dozens of graffiti markings that police said were made by a teenage boy are gone today.

Police said others will be removed next week.

An anti-graffiti unit from the Essex County Sheriff’s Department was in Haverhill for two days this week removing tags from buildings, walls and other structures.

The crew was in Haverhill on Monday and Wednesday and caught the attention of many drivers, who could not help but turn their heads to see what was going on.

Workers arrived in a Sheriff Department flatbed truck carrying a commercial pressure sprayer they used to wash away symbols painted on various properties, including the exterior walls of school buildings and businesses.

“The main thing is to remove it as fast as we can so it doesn’t attract more graffiti,” said Sgt. Christopher Goudreault, who supervises a crew of inmates from the Correctional Alternative Center in Lawrence who volunteer for the work.

Police said many of the markings were the work of a 16-year-old boy arrested last week and charged with multiple counts of malicious damage to property. The boy was arraigned on the charges in Lawrence Juvenile Court last week and this week police brought additional charges against him. In all, police have charged the boy with more than 30 counts of malicious damage to property, as well as four counts of receiving stolen property — stolen license plates and city street signs.

Police said the boy went on a tagging spree and used cans of blue spray paint to vandalize mostly commercial properties with the letters “KOSK.” Police said there were other reports of graffiti that are not linked to the boy.

The Sheriff’s Department crew used a high-pressure spray of water mixed with environmentally safe baking soda to remove paint from walls and other surfaces. Goudreault said the baking soda acts as an abrasive while the water keeps dust in check.

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