WHITEHOUSE, Ohio (WTVG) - A small town crime is causing quite a stir in Whitehouse, where police asked the public for help catching a criminal but may have actually gained him a few fans.
"It was beautiful. It was someone's initials, and it was all pretty colors, and then they put the ugly paint over it," says Whitehouse resident Janet Beening.
Beening lives near Wabash-Cannonball Trail. One particular spot on the trail has become the talk of the town. It's a magnet for graffiti artists to hone their skills.
Someone keeps painting over it, and every coat of paint just forms a new blank canvas for the next illegal mural.
"I don't know who's painting over it, but It's not worth anybody's time. It was pretty," says Beening.
Around 2 in the morning on Sunday, the latest midnight Maestro painted what appears to be the COVID-19 virus with the words "Stay Safe."
Whitehouse Police posted on Facebook, looking for help finding the artist. Instead, they helped gain the artist a measure of fame.
"This is beautiful art," reads one comment. Another asks where he can see the graffiti. Several say the village should pay the guy for this work.
"I kind of see graffiti as art, and right now kids are frustrated, they have nothing to do. If they're not hurting anything, then I don't see a problem," says Beening.
But many neighbors are grateful that the police are working to catch the vandals.
"They're worried that they're going to come and defile their property, too. I wish they'd come paint my shed because my shed looks awful. If you do find them, tell them to come paint my shed," says Beening.
Fans of the painting will have to settle for the online version, as the real thing has been painted over.
Whitehouse Police were not available to comment for this story, but they encourage anyone with knowledge of who the vandal may be to call or message 419-877-9191 ext. 220.