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Vandals strike pool property

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

The vandals, it seems, have an issue with Eminence Mayor Jim Petitt. Whether that grudge extends to the city council or the city police department isn’t clear.

At 2:40 a.m. Friday, Eminence Police Officer O.C. Jones was on patrol when he found the Eminence Pool bathhouse was vandalized. The message was targeted primarily at Eminence Mayor Jim Petitt, and scrawled in large, red letters.

“Jim “Hitler” Peitt you and your gestipo must go,” the message read.

The message led Petitt to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Petitt said the reward would come from him personally — the reward would not come from the city. He also believes that because of the location, the rear of the pool, underneath a street light, someone had to see the vandals in action.

“I’m sick and tired of all this graffiti appearing,” he said, though he said it has been some time since graffiti appeared in the city.

“I would gladly pay the $1,000 (reward),” he said. “I don’t know if the council is going to do anything.”

The message was painted over by city employees Friday morning.

“I told them to go ahead and cover it as soon as we could,” Petitt said. “I didn’t want people thinking that it was a hate crime.”

The city employees painting over the message expressed a mild sense of deja vu — the building had just been painted three weeks before.

Petitt said just who the message is aimed at is unclear. Some have speculated that the message is targeted at Petitt and the city’s police department. Petitt doesn’t think so.

“I think they’re talking about the council,” he said. “If it’s political, the only reason is to go against the council.”

Eminence Police Chief Carey Duncan said the investigation is ongoing. He said that just who the message is aimed at is “in the eye of the beholder.”

“This was following the last council meeting ... some people could interpret it as having something to do with that,” he said.

During the Aug. 11 meeting of the Eminence City Council, members of the city’s parks and recreation committee stopped short of declaring the pool issue dead in its tracks after engineering estimates for the pool’s repair returned at more than $300,000.

Duncan added that while Jones has spent a lot of time on the case, he hasn’t found anything solid.

“We’re looking for anybody with information on who did it,” Duncan said.

Anyone with information in the case is encouraged to call EPD at 845-4744.

E-mail us about this article at editor@hclocal.com.