Alleged hash tagger arrested

Police have made an arrest in connection with a graffiti vandalism spree dating back to 2018.Dozens of locations in Norfolk County have been defaced with stylized variations of the word “HASH.” Sometimes the vandalism has been accompanied by the symbol “#” to suggest “Hashtag.”In a news release Monday, Norfolk OPP say the vandalism dates from Nov. 1 to Jan. 4.However, the word “Hash” has been spray-painted in other locations since this time frame. Most recently it appeared in large letters on the former Maliboo Tavern in downtown Simcoe before it was demolished last month.Last week, the Norfolk-Haldimand Community Street Crime Unit arrested and charged Aaron Lundrigan, 36, of Norfolk County, with one count of mischief over $5,000 and 24 counts of mischief under $5,000.“The cost to remove the graffiti is estimated at approximately $20,000,” Const. Ed Sanchuk, spokesperson for the Norfolk OPP, said Monday in a news release. “This particular cost is likely to increase as further victims pay to have the spray-paint removed from their properties.”In a video posted on social media, Sanchuk said the arrest was made in partnership with Waterloo police. In the video, Sanchuk is shown speaking in front of the word “Hash” spray-painted on a bridge in large letters.“This is not any form of art,” Sanchuk says. “This is vandalism at its finest.”Norfolk OPP are attempting to get an accurate accounting of how much damage this “Hash-tag” spree has caused. Anyone with “Hash” spray-painted on their property is asked to report it to the Norfolk OPP at 1-888-310-1122.The accused is scheduled to answer the charges in the Ontario Court of Justice in Simcoe March 26.MSonnenberg@postmedia.com

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