1. Archive

Businessman offers $500 reward to help find vandals

Published Sep. 27, 2005

First two dead calves were dumped in Chem-Plus Inc.'s trash bin in Spring Hill. Now graffiti is sprayed all over six garage doors, and the owner seeks answers.

It started with two dead calves, dumped one at a time in a trash bin last month behind John McCloud's janitorial supply company on Spring Hill Drive.

On Monday, deputies were called to Chem-Plus Inc. again, this time to investigate graffiti across six garage doors at the back of the property and another retail building McCloud owns next door.

"It's getting really out of hand," McCloud said Tuesday, a day after returning from a three-week vacation in Europe. "We've owned this building for 10 years. We've never had anything like that. It must be a new Spring Hill phenomenon."

Fed up with trying to figure out who might be targeting his properties, McCloud said he will provide a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the graffiti. Anyone with information may call Chem-Plus at (352) 686-1564.

As for the carcasses, McCloud said he is unsure whether they are connected to this week's vandalism.

"I don't know if it's the same people," he said. "The police have no idea."

Sheriff's spokeswoman Deanna Dammer said Tuesday that deputies have no leads on the graffiti complaint or on the dead calves.

McCloud's son, John, discovered the graffiti Monday morning when he arrived at work. He found the bodies of the small, black and white calves on Aug. 25 and Aug. 31, while his parents were away on vacation.

According to sheriff's reports, the carcasses showed no signs of trauma or mutilation. McCloud's son told deputies there were no disgruntled employees who might have left the animals there.

Dammer said there are no suspects, and deputies have done all they can with the information they have.

Improperly disposing of dead animals is a second-degree misdemeanor, Dammer said. She said a more serious charge of animal cruelty requires proof that the animal was intentionally hurt while it was alive.

Dammer urged any resident or business owner who finds graffiti to contact the Sheriff's Office before cleaning it up so authorities can develop a photo file to see if similar complaints are related.

Last week, vandals defaced the pink dinosaur on U.S. 19 with red and green spray paint. No suspects have been identified.

Dammer asked anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Office at 754-6830 or the anonymous tip line at 797-8477.