Businesses detail impact of vandalism in downtown Helena

HELENA- Police say more than 40 people have reported being victims of a vandal who tagged the word “Aspect” on buildings and landmarks around Downtown Helena.

“You don’t expect this type of behavior in a small town like this we feel like we know all of our neighbors,” said Jane Anthony, office manager for the Placer Condo Association.

The Placer Condos downtown is one of the businesses hit by the vandalism.

Anthony said the Placer tried to have the markings removed from the granite, but evidence of the damage can still be seen. The vandal also marked windows on the building.

“Oh yeah, it’s coming out of our budget. So far its been $20 but the sandblasting might be a whole other story”, said Anthony.

Last week police released surveillance video of the suspect from the security cameras at the Murry’s Café, in the video you can see the man marking the window.

“When someone comes along and disrespects our hard work and all of what we put into it downtown, it’s really disheartening,” said Murry’s Café owner Joanie More.

“We had it cleaned up by two o’clock that afternoon just so its taken care of and to show that we really have pride in our business,” said More.

More said there isn’t any permanent damage, but if the vandal had hit the stucco, it could have been expensive to clean.

Helena police say the could face felony charges from the sheer number of instances and a damage estimate in excess of $3,000.

The vandal also hit landmarks like the Performance Square Mural and the trolly on Last Chance Gulch.

“That’s how we feel, like we just got punched in the stomach,” said Anthony.

Anyone with information on who the suspect might be or any other information in regards to the vandalism is asked to contact Detective DJ Zapata at 406-447-8489 (or email at dzapata@helenamt.gov).

You can also anonymously leave a tip with Crimestoppers by calling 406-443-2000 or online here.