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Vandal sought for graffiti in Lakeside, Somers

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Daily Inter Lake | August 4, 2021 12:00 AM

A graffiti vandal is on the loose in the communities of Lakeside and Somers and residents aren't happy about it.

According to Andy Wendel, a local pastor, the graffiti started popping up about three weeks ago.

"It's quite disturbing," Wendel said. "We're still having graffiti being done, but the authorities have a good photo of him and hopefully he'll be caught soon."

Wendel said it's hard to read what is being spray-painted, but the vandal may be using a template for his work.

"Some might not think it's a big deal or it's just art, but it's defacing public and private property," he said. "It's something we don't want here, and we've come together as a community to pitch in and combat this."

Wendel said the vandal, who appears to be a teenager with dyed blonde hair, according to photos obtained from a security camera, has spray-painted the Lakeside County Water and Sewer District building three times and another building in Somers, which used to be the home of Eidsvold Lutheran Church. A local business now uses the building for storage.

The most famous target of the teen is the former patrol car that belongs to the Lakeside-Somers Chamber of Commerce. "Lucky" sits in Lakeside and is meant to be a deterrent to speeders.

The car was tagged last Thursday, but a local business owner quickly cleaned up the paint and restored it.

"We don't want any action against the teen to be overly punitive, but it does need to stop," Wendel said. "We're asking people to keep their eyes out and maybe someone will see him and he can be stopped."

Wendel also said many community members have pitched in to clean up the vandal's work.

The Flathead County Sheriff's Office posted images of the teen on its Facebook page Monday and is asking for the public's help in identifying him. Tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers at 406-752-8477 or tips@flathead.mt.gov.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 406-758-4441 or sshindledecker@dailyinterlake.com.