Beloved Northern Liberties mural vandalized with graffiti

Sarah Bloomquist Image
Monday, May 8, 2017
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Beloved Northern Liberties mural vandalized with graffiti. Sarah Bloomquist reports during Action News at May 8, 2017.

NORTHERN LIBERTIES (WPVI) -- A beloved work of art was vandalized in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia this past weekend and the entire act was caught on video.

Graffiti now stretches about halfway up a mural on the side of the Bell Flooring Company at 1050 N. 2nd Street. It covers the koi and the water scene depicted in the Mural Arts mural known as Bell's Pond.

Joe Bell discovered the vandalism when he arrived to work Saturday morning.

"Pulled in and could not believe what was in front of me, that our beautiful mural was destroyed," Bell said.

Surveillance video released Monday showed the vandals in action.

In the video, the suspects pull up in a red sedan around 5:30 a.m. Saturday. Five or six young men get out and get to work. For a while, a line of them spray-paint the wall.

That's when two police cars pull up for an unrelated car stop and the vandals scatter.

They only return once the police left to finish their dirty work.

"To do this over top of a Mural Arts mural. It's crazy," Owen Kamihira, a restaurant owner and longtime resident of Northern Liberties, told Action News.

Kamihira had some advice for the vandals.

"Find a blank wall. Find a blank canvas. If you want to consider it art, fine, that's absolutely fine, but don't do it on top of somebody else's art," Kamihira said.

The irony here is that city's Mural Arts program started as an anti-graffiti initiative.

Bell has been hearing from all kinds of neighbors who want to help restore the damage done.

"I hope that we can make it look like it used to and bring some awareness to the fact that people worked hard on these and they don't deserve to be destroyed," Bell said.

Bell is taking donations to try to help fund the restoration.

Mural Arts will have a team come out and assess the damage and decide what needs to happen to make the repairs. They ask that neighbors wait for the experts.

A police report has been filed.


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