Police arrest man for vandalizing parks

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond man's so-called artwork is getting him in trouble! Chad Niemi is charged with four misdemeanors after police say he pasted disturbing and sometimes pornographic images on city and private property.

These images showed up on city park buildings and walls, private homes, even on a bridge. Neighbors are happy to see the city's cleaned up the damage and caught the man police say is responsible.

Sharon Blount describes the city parks she brings her sons to every week as "kid friendly."

"No matter where you are in the city there's always a park you could go to and the kids get to let out a little energy and have some fun and do what kids are supposed to do," she said.

But the images police say Chad Niemi used to deface buildings, walls and bridges in city parks and around Oregon Hill don't exactly fit the "PG" category. In fact, they're tagged with the name "Dr. Bastard."

"It tends to lessen the view of the city as a whole in terms of how safe it is, what type of activity is allowed.  It's certainly not the activity of a civilized neighborhood," said Third Precinct Commander Capt. Will Smith.

Niemi faces charges for pre-producing images, like the one still on the Lee Bridge, and then gluing them onto surfaces. This makes it even more difficult to clean up.

"Kids don't want to see that kind of creepy stuff. They want to go and they want an environment that's peaceful to them. As a parent, you don't want to have to explain why there's a scary picture on a board," said Blount.

Police credit Officer Ward Kuper with making sure the public won't be seeing Chad Niemi's so-called artwork anywhere else around the city.

"Displaying your material to an inappropriate area or to inappropriate people will not be tolerated by Third Precinct, the City of Richmond or the police department in general," said Smith.

Right now, Niemi is facing three counts of destruction of property and one for drug possession.  More charges are expected. As a side note, police do not believe he is responsible for the racist and anti-semitic spray painting we've seen recently in other city parks.

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