A message of doom that appeared on the old General Mills building in May has been replaced with a more positive phrase, but the act of putting it there is still a crime.
The new phrase — Declare Independence — holds a more positive ring to it than the previous one, which said, “We’re all gonna die.” It was painted over by the Johnson City-Jonesborough-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, which owns the property.
Chamber President and CEO Gary Mabry said if anyone is arrested for defacing the property, they will be prosecuted.
“The best-laid plans we did, the efforts we made to secure the building, the effort we made to remove the last phrase, it just goes to show you that people who are into that hobby are gonna figure out a way to deal with it,” Mabry said.
Graffiti first appeared on the structure in May when someone painted two colorful cartoon-style faces. Those remain, but the other message was painted over earlier this year.
Johnson City Police Sgt. Van Mominee said the department stepped up enforcement in the area of the building after the May graffiti appeared. But without catching someone in the act, he said it will be difficult to prosecute the crime.
Mabry said the chamber hasn’t had the faces removed because it has posed too much danger so far. There will be efforts to remove the latest addition, as well as the faces once a secure plan is feasible.
Anyone with information about the graffiti can contact the Johnson City Police Department anonymously by text message to 423JCPD and the tip to 847411 (tip411) or at www.citizenobserver.com.