Duluth man arrested after allegedly vandalizing City Hall

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

DULUTH -- A Duluth man apparently disgruntled because of a recent fine was arrested Sunday after allegedly spray painting messages directly disparaging a police officer on the outside of Duluth City Hall.

The red graffiti, which spans the inward-facing sides of all four columns on the steps of the building, directly mentions a Duluth police lieutenant -- one that police spokesman Maj. Don Woodruff said helped serve as an investigator in a recent case that saw Robert Jones Howard fined for soliciting without a license.

Howard, 59, was arrested and charged with interference with government property Sunday before posting $5,700 bond Monday afternoon.

"In a previous case, Howard was apparently selling some things in a business in Duluth without a license," Woodruff said. "He came to court, was found guilty and given a $1,000 fine. Ten or 14 days or however long later, City Hall is vandalized."

Surveillance videos captured Howard committing the crime, Woodruff said, giving them sufficient evidence to arrest him.

Duluth's new city hall was opened in 2007.

The graffiti covers primarily the stones on the bases of the columns, with some spreading to the wooden parts of the columns and a nearby stone wall.

Cleaning all that up won't be cheap, Woodruff said.

"City Hall is the victim, and the citizens of Duluth paid for City Hall," Woodruff said. "We may get restitution at some point, but now we've got to pay for a cleanup."