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Westminster site of ‘NO ILLEAGLES’ graffiti again vandalized

A Carroll County site repeatedly targeted for sometimes political spray-painted messages has been tagged again.

Graffiti was found Tuesday on the side of the former U.S. Army Reserve Center on Malcolm Drive in Westminster.

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On Tuesday, Sheriff Jim DeWees said the city will powerwash the message off the wall, which read in part, “TAKE BACK OUR LIBERTY. TAKE OFF YOUR MASK,” along with a smiley and a heart. Tarps covered it Tuesday afternoon.

Graffiti relating to COVID-19 was painted on the side of the former U.S. Army Reserve Center on Malcolm Drive, just outside the city limits of Westminster, on Sept. 29, 2020. - Original Credit: Courtesy photo
Graffiti relating to COVID-19 was painted on the side of the former U.S. Army Reserve Center on Malcolm Drive, just outside the city limits of Westminster, on Sept. 29, 2020. - Original Credit: Courtesy photo (Aaron Wike / HANDOUT)

The message referenced the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has issued guidelines — including urging the use of facial coverings — designed to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic by preventing spread.

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There are no security cameras in the area of the building, DeWees said. The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have any suspects.

A message was found painted on the same wall on April 21 that read, “TRADE RIGHTS FOR ‘SAFETY’ YOU WILL GET NEITHER. THINK FOR YOUR SELF,” followed by a peace symbol and a heart.

Likely the most well known instance of vandalism at the site was in July 2014, when the same wall was spray-painted with the message, “NO ILLEAGLES HERE NO UNDOCUMENTED DEMOCRATS” after it was learned that the federal government was considering the site as a temporary shelter for undocumented immigrant children, a plan that did not come to pass. Police investigated it as a possible hate crime but never charged any suspect.

The site was once owned by the federal government, which transferred it to Carroll County years ago after being declared surplus, with the stipulation that it be used for public safety use — a use that was never found.

Efforts to make the site a veterans service center and homeless shelter were repeatedly denied at the federal level, so in February the county voted to put the building up for public sale. The building is still up for sale, DeWees said.

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