BONNE TERRE — Spray-painted swastikas and the initials BTMN have prompted citizen outrage and a reward. Five locations in Bonne Terre were defaced with the swastikas and initials which authorities say stand for Bonne Terre Mafia Nazi.
Several citizens have banded together to offer a $300 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals. Contributing to the reward are Boyer Funeral Homes, Councilwoman Linda Shearin, Heritage Hall, and City Manager Larry Barton and his wife Janet.
The initials and symbols were spray painted on surfaces at Heritage Hall, Bonne Terre Nutrition Center, the city’s main park, Boyer Funeral Home and the Sports Complex.
“We want to catch whoever did this,” Larry Barton said. “The budget is strapped, we’re trying to make things decent for people, and something like this is unsettling for families to see.”
Barton isn’t sure how much the damage will cost the city. The graffiti will be removed as soon as possible with a special cleaner made for that purpose. However, in some cases the city may have to repaint, particularly at the playground and the Nutrition Center.
“The nutrition center has brand new siding,” Barton said. “That will have to be repainted probably.”
The culprits could face multiple charges for the spray-painting spree, including destruction of municipal property.
Anyone with information about the vandalism can contact city hall at 358-2254 or the police at 358-2205.
A year or so ago, there was a similar spray-painting incident, Barton added. That time the initials were BTC for Bonne Terre Crips.
Barton doesn’t believe there was an actual Crips gang here at that time, nor is he sure that the initials this time mean there is a Nazi group. But he is sure that the culprits should be punished.
“We’ve taken some pictures, and we’ve got some leads,” Barton said. “We will follow up on them, and hopefully we will catch them. It will take some time though.”