A vandal known only by the graffiti tag “XAK” recently spray-painted city and county property with what may have been a twisted attempt at inspirational writing.
Last week, Andrew Brunner, facilities committee chairman of Marion Parks and Recreation Department, noticed the message “Do what you love, slave,” scrawled across the top the East Park shelter house. The “o” in “love” was replaced by a heart symbol, and XAK was painted nearby.
“The message didn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Brunner said. “I was upset and surprised to see someone would do something like that when people are trying to make things nicer around here.”
Brunner also noticed XAK was tagged on a concrete loading ramp less than a block away at 141 N. Coble St. at the county shop. He informed Marion assistant police chief Clinton Jeffrey.
Jeffrey discovered the XAK tag at the top of Marion’s east water tower where “To the Stars” was spray-painted in a chaotic fashion below the town’s name.
He said the graffiti messages are likely connected, and may have happened between April 9 and April 12 on the same night because of the isolated area in which they occurred.
“It’s the same symbol,” Jeffrey said. “It’s almost like a stencil was used. We have no idea was ‘XAK’ means, but we don’t believe it is gang-related.”
He said the vandal’s climb to the top of the water tower was perilous because of the fall risk.
“We’re not sure how they got up there but the bottom of the ladder isn’t very far off the ground,” Jeffrey said. “Whoever did it would have had to climb over the rail at the top, too. It’s dangerous.”
Brunner wants to find a way to fix the damage on the shelter roof without replacing the shingles. He said he might end up using spray-paint if he can match the color.