County courthouse tagged |

County courthouse tagged

Angry words insult police, residents

Police are investigating graffiti on the Moffat County courthouse.

Kelvin Stehle, building and grounds manager for the county, noticed the words spray-painted in blue and red, on the front of the building that faces Victory Way early Thursday morning. One sentence used a derogatory word in reference to police, near what seemed to be a picture of a Maltese cross. Another phrase said, “The truth will set you free but these laws will never let you be free.” It seemed to have a signature attached to it.

Stehle had called in help by about 10 a.m. to help more quickly power wash the words from the bricks on the courthouse.

Moffat County Sheriff Deputy Skip Duncan said police haven’t been aware of another tagging incident at the courthouse in his 25 years with the office. He said police have little to go on in finding a suspect or suspects, but they have started an investigation.

“Like every police officer, you hope not to be called that,” he said of words written on the building. “Anything like that, we take it personally.”

Duncan said deputies have investigated graffiti incidents after county bridges have been tagged.

One woman walking into the courthouse, called the graffiti “sad.”

“It makes you feel sad because you don’t really see that here,” Donna Malvitz said. “For me, it was really surprising.”

Others shook their heads in disbelief when walking into the building.

“I feel like people are entitled to their opinion, but they should find a better way to express it than writing it on the courthouse,” said Attorney David Waite, who was inside the courthouse Thursday morning.

Stehle called the incident a “waste of taxpayer money.” He didn’t immediately know how much it would cost to have the words removed. Stehle said the courthouse has been tagged in the past, but that graffiti was left on the sides and back of the building.

A Maltese cross has a long history as a Christian symbol associated with care giving and military duties. Some people have identified the cross as a sinister design and branded it as a symbol of the Nazis. It is also a symbol similar to what skateboarding company Independent uses as a logo to sell its skateboard parts.

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or

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