ELLERBE — When Jason Currie went to check the water level at the recently re-opened Grassy Island boating access Saturday afternoon, he made an infuriating discovery.
Spray painted several times on the new restroom building were the words “F—- USA.” The handicapped-parking sign next to the building was also painted over.
“Pure anger” is what Currie said was running through his mind. “It’s really upsetting.”
Currie said the graffiti was not there Friday evening when took his boat out.
After seeing Currie’s photos on Facebook, John MacPherson from 704 Outdoors went to the site Sunday afternoon and posted a video.
“Some coward has come here in the middle of the night and done this — ‘cause I guarantee you they’re not brave enough to do it during the daytime,” he said on the video. “Someone obviously doesn’t have enough respect to voice their opinion without defacing property.”
MacPherson called the vandalism “unacceptable.”
“We were real excited about this because it was a brand new facility right here in our back yard and it makes this boat landing so much nicer,” he said.
The vandalism comes less than two weeks after Duke Energy announced the access was re-opened after closing for improvements, which included the restrooms — scheduled to open next month — upgrades to the parking area and a new kiosk.
The access had been closed for improvements since the week of Oct. 24, 2016.
“Duke Energy takes great pride in providing safe, clean and functional recreational facilities as part of our Yadkin-Pee Dee license to better serve our customers and local communities, Heather Danenhower, corporate spokeswoman, said in an email to the Daily Journal on Monday. “The Grassy Island boating access area doesn’t just belong to Duke Energy – it belongs to the entire Richmond County community. We are disheartened to learn a person or group of people vandalized our newly installed restroom building.”
Despite this crime, Danenhower said the facility is still on schedule to open in early April.
“We are working to remove the graffiti this week and also working with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission and Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the crime,” she added.
MacPherson said 704 Outdoors is offering a $500 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the vandalism.
He also issued a warning to anyone who gets caught doing something similar.
“We hunt out here in the middle of the night chasing wild hogs and we have no fear of them, so we definitely have no fear of some little punk with some paint,” he said. “If we catch you out here, day or night, doing something like this, I can guarantee you we got more in our hands and more in our truck than paint.”
Anyone with information related to the crime is encouraged to call the sheriff’s office at 910-997-8283 or NCWRC at 1-800-662-7137.
This is at least the second incident of vulgar graffiti in the Ellerbe area.
Someone spray painted the words “F—- Trump” and “M13” on the side of St. Peter’s Holliness Church in January.
No arrests have been made in that case, according to investigators.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_toler.