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Police offer $500 reward to catch vandals

T-R PHOTO BY JOE FISHER Dollar sign symbols, the words “Money Gang” and “JDEEZY was here” were painted on several buildings in downtown Marshalltown in what appears to be a coordinated act of vandalism. The police department is urging the public to report any acts of vandalism so it may be investigated promptly.

The Marshalltown Police Department announced Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the vandals who graffitied several buildings in the business district.

The graffiti features recurring images of stylized dollar signs or the words “Money Gang.”

Captain Chris Jones said it appears the rash of graffiti is likely connected but there is no way to say for sure it is one person or group of people at this time.

“We encourage any business that has vandalism to report it to us,” Jones said. “We take these incidents seriously. If we can connect those incidents through color of paint or writing, that kind of helps build a firmer case.” 

Matt Gerstandt, owner of Black Tire Bike Co., was the first business owner to report vandalism to his building. He noticed his business was tagged Thursday and said the graffiti was not there the night before.

Like many business owners in downtown Marshalltown, Gerstandt had recently restored his building after it suffered tornado damage in 2018.

“I just dumped a ton of money into it,” he said. ” It’s just disrespectful. Everyone is working the hardest they can down here. To see something like that on a fresh building — It’s just more work. We don’t need any more work downtown to clean up graffiti.”

Gerstandt said he hasn’t dealt with graffiti being an issue at his business in the nine years he’s owned it.

Smokin’ G’s business owner Kim Gratopp did not have new graffiti on her building, but a dollar sign that was spray painted on the sidewalk on Main Street appeared to have a fresh coat of paint on it. She has noticed more graffiti in the alley behind her business in the last week. 

“It’s kind of frustrating. It’s sad to think that that’s going on in our community,” she said. “These business owners work hard. They work hard to keep their business looking nice.”

She said the most disheartening part of this issue is that it comes after two natural disasters in the last three years and while businesses try to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve all had more than our fair share,” Gratopp said. “For somebody intentionally to do it is heartbreaking.”

Several buildings on Smokin’ G’s block have security cameras. Gratopp said she usually reviews her footage if an alarm is triggered or if something happens.

MARSHALL COUNTY CRIME STOPPERS

Anonymously submit tips to Marshall County Crime Stoppers by

calling 641-753-1234 or texting 274637

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Contact Joe Fisher at 641-753-6611 or jfisher@timesrepublican.com 

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