COLONIAL HEIGHTS (WRIC) - Dante's Pizzeria prefers to be known for their authentic Italian cuisine. But since this weekend, customers have been greeted by vandalism.
"It hurts to see something like this, because you take pride in your business and you want to make sure everything looks okay inside and outside, and to see something like this it hurts," says co-owner Jessica Musso.
The graffiti reads things like "Open your eyes," "Get a life" and "Evolve."
Musso says she has no idea what the phrases mean, and as a small business owner removing the paint will be costly.
"After the holidays because it always slows down, business does, so it hurts a little bit this time of year."
In less than an 1/8th of a mile, eight businesses, including Check City, Martins, Advanced Auto Parts and EVB bank were all tagged by graffiti this past weekend.
Surveillance video was captured from the Martins Gas Station directly across from Dante's and police are hoping this will lead them to some clues to finding the masked vandal.
But Police Sergeant Rob Ruxer with the Colonial Heights Police Department says this has been a big problem for more than a month now.
"Since the beginning of December, we've had over 30 incidents of graffiti all over the city," he says.
Three people were recently arrested and charged with multiple misdemeanors, but that hasn't stopped the paint from popping up.
"These vandals cause an eye sore to the city," Ruxer says. "The businesses obviously don't want the vandals' messages on the side of their businesses."
"I would try to encourage them to direct their attention to something more productive in life," Musso says. "Maybe not something that would hurt small business owners."
Right now police say they have no evidence that this is the work of a gang. If you have any information that could help investigators, call Crime Solvers at 748-1278.
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