The paint was still tacky when the latest graffiti attack on the pedestrian bridge was discovered around 6 a.m. Friday.
"It wasn't here at a quarter to three," said Security Chief Greg Remson as he surveyed black and white scrawling on the deck and top railing. One of the massive concrete support pillars of the graceful wooden bridge had graphics sprayed in white paint and a dark, reddish-brown hue.
Security Chief Greg Remson reviews the latest bridge graffiti early Friday.
A checkerboard several feet wide was sprayed across the middle of the 410-foot timber bridge, from one side to the other.
"They pretty much got 100 feet on the bridge," Remson told the Rancho Murieta Association Maintenance Department on his cell phone. Then he resumed taking digital photos that will be forwarded to the Sheriff's Department.
It was the third time the bridge has been hit with graffiti since it opened in mid-June.
The damage this time began with the sign on the north side of the bridge. The message on the front of the sign was altered using paint, "a kid's thing," Remson said. The back of the sign was an indecipherable snarl of black paint whorls.
The bridge's support structure was hit as well.
Graffiti along the top rail of one side of the bridge consisted of continuous scrawling in black and white paint and repetition of the F-word. It evolved into what Remson identified as gang terminology. On the opposite side of the walkway and on the deck of the bridge, additional graffiti included a gang name. Remson said the gang information is readily available on the Internet.
Concern that the community's vandalism and graffiti problems reflect gang activity surfaced last week at the RMA meeting. A retired police officer told the board the graffiti that's appeared in restrooms on the golf course and at the bridge is the way gang members communicate.
Assessing Friday's incident, Dan Herrmann of the RMA Maintenance Department estimated it would take most of the day to clean up the graffiti.
Joggers, bicyclists and golf carts continued to use the span, and one cyclist asked Remson where he could donate to a fund to add security cameras to the bridge.
The Parks Committee approved the expenditure of funds for cameras last year but they weren't purchased.
No spray cans were found at the scene, but Remson said the vandals were likely to have tell-tale paint splatters. "You can't spray paint without getting paint on your hands," he said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Security at 354-3743.