Gardiner police are asking members of the public to share whatever information they can about graffiti that was recently sprayed underneath the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Bridge between Gardiner and Randolph.
Pedestrians on the Kennebec River Rail Trail can easily access the underside of the bridge, and in the past, some Gardiner area students have painted on the structure as part of school art projects, according to Chief James Toman.
Some Gardiner Area High School students have showed their school spirit by painting orange-and-black tiger stripes on the inside wall of the underpass. Others painted their names and slapped orange handprints on the wall.
But a couple weeks ago, Toman said, several new designs appeared on the underpass. They include two colorful designs featuring obscure words, including what looks like “lerk and “kilo.” Other additions are several white slogans that purportedly show support for the Rams, the mascot of Cony High School in Augusta.
“Some clowns thought it would be a good idea to spray graffiti all over the Rail Trail underpass,” Officer Sam Quintana wrote on the police department’s Facebook page on Monday. “Those walls are normally adorned with Gardiner Tiger pride themed paintings. To go over them with graffiti is disrespectful, selfish, and inconsiderate. I know that with a little bit of awareness, our fine citizens will be alert and on the lookout for the perpetrators.”
Quintana also made a request: “If you hear someone bragging, joking about doing this, or know of someone using the monikers ‘kilo’ or ‘lerk,’ let your friends at Gardiner Police in on your intel.”
In an interview, Toman said that whoever left the recent graffiti did not have permission to paint on the underside of the bridge and so could be charged with criminal mischief.
“This is clearly meant to deface the art that was approved and had permission to be there,” Toman said.
The Maine Department of Transportation maintains the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Bridge, according to the agency’s website. Toman said he hopes the Facebook post will lead to some tips about who may have sprayed the new graffiti.
“We do our best when our community talks to us,” he said.
Toman was not aware of any tips coming in Monday afternoon. Though Cony High School is referenced in the new graffiti, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was high school rivals who vandalized the bridge, Toman said.
“They’re certainly trying to point the finger, to suggest that our suspects might be Augusta-affiliated,” he said. “But we’re not necessarily putting a whole lot of stock in it. They could be doing some reverse psychology.”
Charles Eichacker — 621-5642