Caught on camera: Vandals deface historic Greenwood building

GREENWOOD, Ind. - The owner of a historic building near downtown Greenwood hopes somebody will recognize the three individuals caught on security video as they deface the walls of the old building.

Randy Faulkner, the current owner of the Polk building off Main Street in Greenwood, says the spray painted graffiti surfaced in the early morning hours of Independence Day. Several crude messages were painted on the walls, including “Jesus vapes,” “Cops kill,” and “U Gay.”

“It’s sad, just wondering what the kids are thinking about,” Faulkner said. “To do that to public property, what’s going on in their head?”

Video from security cameras show what appear to be three males walking up to the building between 3:30 - 4:30 am on July 4. One camera shows the three individuals hunkered down near a wall where some of the graffiti was discovered later that morning. It also shows one of the individuals approaching a front wall of the building, and extending an arm to the wall.

The old Polk building has been part of the Greenwood business landscape since it was built in the early 1900s. Faulkner recently spent several years renovating the roof and interior of the building for business use.

The exterior walls of the building are still made up of the original bricks from more than 100 years ago. Now, many of those bricks are stained with spray paint.

“Hopefully we can get some graffiti remover, get it on there quickly,” Faulkner said. “Hopefully the chemical will remove it without staining or discoloring the brick too bad with the power washer, hopefully we get it off.”

Making matters worse, some of the graffiti is clearly visible from the playground where children play at the Cornerstone Autism Center, which is also housed in the Polk building. Cornerstone C.O.O., Debbie Ide says she was saddened to see the graffiti when the center reopened after the 4th of July holiday.

“That’s what some kids thought was fun over that holiday? To deface a building that’s used for children with autism,” Ide said. “It’s just disappointing.”

One portion of the security video shows one of the individuals entering the Cornerstone Autism Center’s playground. The person appears to hold a lighter up the rope of a tether swing on the playground. A small scorch mark was clearly visible on the rope on Wednesday.

Ide says she doesn’t know if the person was trying to burn the rope, or possibly weaken the rope so it would break the next time a child got onto the swing. That thought makes her particularly angry.

“I’m sure that someone will see this and recognize the individuals that were participating in the event,” Ide said. “That’s our hope.”

Anyone who recognizes any of the individuals in the security video is asked to call the Greenwood Police Department at 317-882-9191.