Bremerton businessman waging war against graffiti

BREMERTON, Wash. -- A Bremerton business owner was so fed up with vandals that he began waging a one-man war against graffiti, and it appears he's winning.

Vandals repeatedly blanketed Robert Parker's building with foul graffiti, turning the printer repairman into a civic leader.

"They put a five-by-25 foot red male part on the back of my building," Parker said.

Five times he painted over what he calls the "toxic taggings," but the vandals always returned.

"They came back and painted again and put, 'Ha,ha, ha," underneath it," he said.

Parker reported the vandalism to police and the Public Works Department, but it wasn't a felony or a priority. His persistence -- along with photos of the crime -- finally convinced city leaders to act.

"They saw it and they fixed it the same day, and we weren't really in that mode. The mode we were in in Public Works was see it, report it, put it on a data base, track it," said Public Works Director Chal Martin.

Parker suggested graffiti cleaning kits, which the city is now giving away so residents can clean the mess the second they see it. Even Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent now carries one of the compact kits.

This month the city launched another anti-graffiti program. It's an iPhone app that lets users photograph graffiti and post locations on a website called

"If I were to call our code enforcement officer, it will be sitting in her email for attention," Parker said of the time before the new app was developed.

Parker said it sometimes pays to be a pain, because this time his complaints paid off.

"The (graffiti) reported last week is gone today," he said.

Residents can pick up the free graffiti cleaning kits at Bremerton's Public Works Department. City leaders say a Droid app is in the works.