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EMPIRE — A $5,000 reward is being offered by the City of Coos Bay to residents who report information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for recent hateful graffiti vandalism.

“Sadly, we are once again compelled to reiterate our conviction that the City of Coos Bay will not tolerate racism in our community, while also reinforcing our commitment to zero tolerance when faced with crimes targeting any individual or group, particularly those based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion or sexual identity,” read a press release from the city.

This release followed another instance of graffiti on a fence in Coos Bay’s Empire District, this time containing offensive language against an individual. The words were followed with a drawing of a noose.

In an earlier press release sent out by the Coos Bay Police Department, the graffiti was reported on Wednesday at 8:03 a.m. It was located on a privately owned fence and was reported by a neighbor as well as the property owner.

“A Coos Bay Police Officer arrived on scene at … 8:14 a.m. and made contact with the property owner,” the release said. “The property owner was already in the process of retrieving material, such as paint and brushes to remove the graffiti.”

While the owners were getting ready to remove the graffiti, several citizens arrived to remove it themselves. The graffiti was covered within two hours of it being reported.

“At this time, no suspect has been identified. However, it has been determined that this crime occurred sometime during the night after 11 p.m. on July 14,” the release said. “The Coos Bay Police Department is taking these crimes seriously.”

“We have to identify who is doing this,” said Deputy Chief Chris Chapanar with the department. “To whoever is doing this, we will find out. … They will be held accountable and responsible. The more times they do such an act, the closer we are to putting the pieces together ….”

Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier echoed the sentiment that the responsible party needs to be identified before actions can be taken. He told The World that accusations are circulating on social media that he has made comments about the incident to a legal team, which he said isn’t true.

“I have not spoken to a legal team …,” he said, adding that any quotes attributed to him about the issue on circulating Facebook posts are also not true.

“With the recent incidents involving graffiti, it is important that the greater Coos Bay community understand that the swift repair of defaced property and identification of those responsible is of the utmost priority, while simultaneously addressing all protocols involving private ownership and maintaining the integrity of damaged entities,” the city’s release said.

To report a tip or information regarding the graffiti incidents, call 541-269-8911.

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 236, or by email at worldnews1@countrymedia.net. Follow her on Twitter: @je_wardwriter.

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