Update: Orion authorities have identified the suspects in the photo. The suspects were identified on Feb. 14, 2017, after the photo went viral. The second previously published — and now removed — photo of a family walking near the graffiti on the Paint Creek Trail are not suspects in the vandalism. Authorities have said that the family is cleared of any wrongdoing. We apologize to the family for the undue attention this incident has caused them.
By Georgia Thelen
Vandals have yet again returned to the Paint Creek Trail area over the weekend with cans of spray paint and unflattering artwork.
Unknown vandals took to the signs, walkways and trees on Paint Creek Trail to defame them with vulgar language and images. While the bright spray paint may only look slightly daunting to some, the vandalism is happening too often and the costs to repair the frequent damages are rising.
“Dozens, if not hundreds, of hours are spent trying to keep it (the trail) open and welcoming for all. These hours are not free; in fact they are very costly to our residents and taxpayers,” said Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett in a recent Facebook post regarding the vandalism.
Barnett encouraged Lake Orion residents to take photos of suspicious vehicles and license plates. He also added that the township will be prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law when the vandals are identified.
Barnett contacted The Lake Orion Review and met with local Channel 7 on Feb. 14 to publicly offer a reward of $1,000 to anyone who can identify the vandals.
“We would love to identify these people and make an example out of them,” said Barnett.
On Feb. 13, three Department of Public Works employees were sent out to Paint Creek Trail to clean up the spray paint. The removal of the paint took roughly nine hours and the final cost for labor was between $600-$700.
“It is a waste of resources and we have to get it to stop,” said Barnett.
Orion residents responded quickly to Barnett’s public Facebook post suggesting that the township install more trail cams to canvas the entirety of the trail. This leads to questions such as who would pay for the installation, where would they be installed and is there electricity to the area to run cameras?
For many years there has been an area full of aged concrete slabs covered in graffiti by the water known as “The Rocks” to local residents.
And while the graffiti had been confined to that area for years, the vandalism is continuously spreading further down the public trail, leaving taxpayers responsible for the cost of repairing the damage.
Community members are encouraged to call 248-858-4911 if they see any further acts of vandalism in the area or for positive identification of the suspects.