OMAK – A security guard, a mom and a social media post helped the Omak Police Department track down and arrest three people suspected of spraying graffiti around town.
“Graffiti artists were on the loose in downtown Omak the past couple days but with the help of alert library security and a video posted on Instagram, Omak police arrested three prankster painters,” Chief Jeff Koplin said last week.
He said he walked the downtown corridor of Ash Street, Main Street and Central Avenue to Juniper and Birch streets and was able to view the painted areas.
Five malicious mischief calls were reported April 25 - two on South Ash Street, and one each on South Birch Street, West Fourth Avenue and West Central Avenue.
Koplin said the security guard at the Omak Public Library, 30 S. Ash St., described a man he had seen with a paint can in the area of the library and the adjacent Civic League Park. When suspect Ira Frank, 24, Okanogan, returned to the library Thursday, police were called.
Koplin said Frank was cooperative.
Sgt. Darren Duncan joined the investigation when he was summoned to the Omak school area to locate a juvenile runway on April 25. He arrested two juveniles, ages 12 and 13, with the help of one of the boys’ mother.
She had been looking for her son. who she had listed as a runaway, Koplin said.
The boys allegedly bragged about tagging the Central Avenue bridge when a picture appeared on Instagram.
Koplin said the three were stopped before major damage occurred. Frank and the two boys apparently were not working together.
While questioning one of the boys, he apparently told Duncan he and the other boy had broken into a shed in the backyard of a home on East Grape Avenue and taken spray paint, Koplin said.
The boys were referred to the Okanogan County Prosecutor’s Offices for possible charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree theft and third-degree malicious mischief.
Koplin urged people to report any incidents of graffiti, vandalism or malicious mischief, and give the names of those believed to be responsible.
Koplin said he was proud of the security guard and mother who helped and made her son accept responsibility.
Incidents of graffiti can be reported to the police department at 509-826-0383.