PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - Store owners in Palestine say several times a month their shops are tagged and property broken into. They're tired of footing the bill for all this senseless destruction. Diana Stuffers spent thousands of dollars fixing what others destroy.
"They've set fire to my dumpsters before, to my pot plants out front, they've torn my lights off the front of my building," said Diana Stuffers, owner of Sherry's.
Downtown Palestine is full of scenic and historic buildings, but store owners say vandals have taken away part of their pride.
"It makes the town look bad for the tourists coming into town," said Pat Curry, a store owner.
Business by business, we were taken around town to see all the graffiti.
"Like this, the sh--, the word 'bomb,' and they do the gas mask on buildings," said Stuffers.
Palestine police had us blurr some of the markings so vandals wouldn't get any more credit.
"We're working with our juvenile detention facility," said Detective James Muniz. "We're also going to be working with our local high schools, both Palestine and Westwood to try and come up with some leads on some of the new stuff that's come out."
Store owners like Curry say it's so out of control she doesn't even file a report anymore.
"It doesn't do any good to paint over your buildings because they turn right around the next week and hit you again," said Curry.
Stuffers still re-paints her shop and had an electrician rewire her lighting. But, she says in these tough times, that's money she could have spent helping the community or hiring someone in need of a job. And, she says what's really sad, is how talented these vandals' are.
"They do a good job for the destruction they do but they could actually paint buildings, help people that need painting of the houses," said Stuffers.
A wasted talent and crime that Palestine residents are on a mission to stop. Palestine police say most of the time the perpetrators are juveniles in the 14 to 17-year-old age range. They ask residents to help them fight the problem and immediately report any suspicious activity.