Daredevil taggers aim high

Someone went to great lengths and put themselves and others at risk to spray graffiti on a highway sign heading into Valleyview, authorities said Wednesday.

Graffiti task force co-ordinator Gord Giles said the tag appeared about a week ago on the Jasper turn-off sign at the Valleyview interchange.

What amazes Giles is the tagger was able to shimmy up the signpost, crawl out to well-lit surface and leave his or her mark without being seen.

Most taggers strike in the early morning hours when traffic is scarce. But Giles finds it hard to believe someone didn't notice a person at work in the floodlights, he said.

"It's like daylight up there," said Giles.

The effort is also a concern for RCMP, with Const. Pat Nagy saying the tagger could have caused grievous injury to him or her self or passing motorists.

"They could have fallen onto a vehicle. They could have dropped their spray can and hit a windshield and caused somebody to have a serious accident," she said.

She said it's also a crime to deface public property and, if caught, the culprit could face charges of mischief.

Giles and his investigators took pictures of the graffiti and analysed the tag. The work doesn't match any local tagger, although a second tag painted on the sign, Way, used to be a tag in Kamloops.

He said the perpetrator could be new to town or someone who was passing through.

"I'm trying to read what it says. I can't make it out either. When you see a new tag, it takes a while to figure out what the words are," he said.

Argo Road Maintenance is charged with removing the graffiti. Giles said the sign will likely be replaced because the cleaning material will ruin the reflective lettering. A new sign will cost about $2,000.

Anyone with information is asked to phone the graffiti task force at 250-314-0386 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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