Two men in their 20s were arrested and charged after the Rossdale Water Treatment Plant in central Edmonton was tagged with spray paint this past weekend.
Police responded to the water treatment facility at around 4 a.m. on Sat., Oct. 5, after receiving a complaint about graffiti at the facility near 105 Street and Rossdale Road.
Officers arrived to find two men scaling a nearby fence, and police said the duo ignored commands to stop.
Police said the two ran to the east and tried to hide in some nearby bushes. The Air 1 police helicopter was called in and helped direct officers on the ground to the hiding spot, where the suspects were arrested.
Edmonton police chief Dale McFee justified using costly resources such as the helicopter at his coffee with the chief event on Monday, saying on some buildings — especially historical ones — the damage can reach into the millions.
“We spend a lot of time and attention trying to catch individuals. But again, there’s those people that would say, ‘Well, why are police responding to graffiti, chasing graffiti? That’s just art,'” McFee said.
“Well it’s art until it destroys someone’s property and building, and costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix it.”
The two suspects are alleged to have spray-painted the south wall of the pump house and security lighting at the facility in the river valley.
Keaton James Bjorklund, 23, and Eric Ellison Hatcher, 22, were each charged with one count of mischief under $5,000.
“EPS members have made multiple arrests of graffiti taggers over the past year, and we’re going to continue to do so,” Sgt. David Chow said in a statement.
“Business owners and citizens alike have had enough. It’s costing business proprietors and tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to rehabilitate their properties.”