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South Portland offers reward in I-295 graffiti case

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South Portland offers reward in I-295 graffiti case

SOUTH PORTLAND — City police are ready to pay for information leading to the identification of suspects who tagged a section of sound barriers on Interstate 295 in December.

An anonymous donation of $5,000 was accepted by City Councilors on Monday, money Police Chief Ed Googins said will seed a reward fund to be paid even if identified taggers "accept the responsibility and become involved in the removal of the graffiti," as opposed to being prosecuted.

Googins said the reward fund will be administered by South Portland Police Lt. Frank Clark, Cumberland County Assistant District Attorney Bud Ellis and Portland neighborhood prosecutor Trish McAllister.

It is unlikely all the money will be awarded to one person, and Googins said Tuesday at a news conference he hopes other donations will add to the fund.

The donor came forward shortly after the incident, an act that may have been witnessed by a city police officer headed away from the scene on Interstate 295.

The same graffiti has been seen in other spots in the city and Portland, Googins said.

“We are pretty confident this individual is going to keep on tagging,” he added.

Googins said the city graffiti problem is chronic, “far too frequent and too brazen,” and too often occurs with few witnesses around. Suspects can face criminal mischief charges, with the cost of damages determining how severe the charges will be.

“They do this at times that make them very difficult to catch,” Googins said.

Anyone with information about the graffiti was asked to call the city police tip line at 347-4100.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.