Kansas City police hold sting operation to stop spray paint sales to minors
12:35 PM, Aug 12, 2010
5:36 PM, Aug 20, 2010
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Some store clerks in Kansas City were caught with spray paint on
According to The Kansas City Star, police launched a sting
operation last Thursday to catch anyone selling a can to someone
under age 17.
Police admit the law isn't well known and has not ever been
enforced. But because the city is facing a growing graffiti
problem, they decided it's time to start raising awareness and
eventually fining people. Other cities and states across the
nation have similar ordinances and laws.
Police put together three teams who worked with three undercover
juveniles to visit 15 t stores in the East Patrol Division.
Eleven of the 15 clerks sold paint to the teens. Instead
of tickets, police issued warnings and informational pamphlets. The
officers also gave store managers signs that explain the law.
Police say some stores, including the Advance Auto Parts on
Truman Road, keep their spray paint behind the counter. That
store was one of the few that refused to sell to an undercover
juvenile during the sting.
The store's cash register system reportedly reminds clerks to
ask a customer if they are 17 or older when buying spray
At two stores, the clerks asked for ID, but miscalculated the
teen's age and sold the undercover agent spray paint anyway.
Police are urging clerks to create a system to calculate ages
Police said they may hold another sting later this year.
During that sting, violators will most likely be ticketed anywhere
from $500 to $1,000. Under the ordinance, it's also a
violation for a person under age 17 to buy or possess spray paint
without adult supervision.
The city council originally passed the ordinance to stop
"huffing," where youths inhale aerosol fumes to get high. Police
discovered the ordinance recently when they were researching ways
to combat graffiti.
Graffiti costs homeowners, business owners and the city
thousands of dollars each year to clean up.
Police said "tagger" graffiti, where people leave their mark to
gain status, is the most common in Kansas City.
But there is also gang graffiti, where members mark their
turf, hate graffiti, which often puts down someone's race or
ethnicity; and generic graffiti, which isn't typically offensive
but just as expensive to remove.