Cortland community sees spike in building graffiti

Graffiti popping up in downtown Cortland has many neighbors upset and demanding change.

One Cortland business owner is now offering a reward to find the people who vandalized the side of his store.

John Mercurio opened the doors to Pawn Boss on Main Street in Cortland about five years ago. Over the past year, he has noticed a spike in graffiti around the area.

Just this weekend, someone sprayed the side of his building.

"You see graffiti all over your building, especially when you're stopped at a stop light. It's the first thing you see. It gets a little bit annoying," Mercurio said.

Cortland police said graffiti artists have been busy over the past few weeks.

"Some of the business owners are cleaning the graffiti only to have it happen again a day or two later," said Cortland Police Lt. David Guerrera.

Guerrera said he has counted around 15 to 16 incidents, which is a big increase.

Police suspect two different people.

"It's distinct to them. When they're using specific words, which we think is their tag," Guerrera said.

Cortland police believe one suspect was caught on security camera. In fact, Cortland has several cameras in the area and an officer patrolling up and down and main street.

"These should be deterrents. I would like to say they were adequate deterrents, but obviously not always the case," Mayor Brian Tobin said.

Tobin said the vandalism is a concern for the Cortland community.

Mercurio is now offering a $100 store credit for anyone with information that leads to an arrest.

"They can come in here and spend it any way they want. We decided to do that. Hopefully, it will help to convict who's doing it," Mercurio said.

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