SALT LAKE CITY -- Businesses in Salt Lake and South Salt Lake are reporting a rash of an unusual crime. It appears vandals are ruining artist murals with graffiti on the sides of buildings, and now police are investigating who is behind the painting spree.
On Saturday morning, Katie Reid said she pulled up to her family's business in Sugar House and immediately noticed their store mural vandalized.
"I saw the scary face on there. It was a pretty violating feeling," Reid said. "The face covered up what's normally a Dutch girl holding tulips, to advertise their store, The Old Dutch Shop.
The mom-and-pop shop offers a little slice of Scandinavia, and Reid says they added the mural several years ago to the outside.
The black and white spray painted face now covering the face and body of the Dutch girl, also appeared on two to three other murals in Salt Lake City, according to Salt Lake City Police.
Tinker's Cat Cafe was one of the businesses.
Not two days later, in South Salt Lake, the city discovered a similar circumstance with several murals on West Temple.
"They did it very fast," said artist Jann Haworth, as she stood in front of her now botched mural that she painted earlier this year as part of the 2018 Mural Fest. "They destroyed something that took a long time to make."
South Salt Lake Arts Council Director Lesly Allen said graffiti showed up on 7 of the 11 festival murals, and on an 8th mural painted previous to Mural Fest.
"Everyone in South Salt Lake has these same three images," Allen said. "Those images; a face, slice of pizza, and spray paint can.
"The irony is, typically you do a mural on a building so they don't get tagged," said Allen. "So, go figure."
Allen say they filed a police report, as they now look at how to fix or re-paint each piece of art.
Haworth said she tried removing the paint, but it appears what's underneath is unsalvageable. She indicated that she plans to paint over the graffiti, though, she might incorporate some of it into her new design.
For The Old Dutch Store, Reid indicated fixing the mural won't be likely until spring when the weather is warmer.
"I think we're going to have to start over," she said.
Anyone with information on the Salt Lake City mural vandalisms should contact police at 801-799-3000.
To report information on the South Salt Lake graffiti, please contact 801-412-3600.
The Utah Arts Alliance, which is located in one of the buildings to see vandalism, along with the South Salt Lake Arts City Council have started a fundraiser to help pay for mural restoration.