The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

October 4, 2012

Seneca mayor’s home trashed

SENECA, Mo. — Mark Bennett, the mayor of Seneca, walked out of his house to go to work about 5 a.m. Thursday and made a jaw-dropping discovery.

Overnight, someone had spray-painted graffiti and obscenities on all four sides of his house and all over his pickup truck. The vandals also had entered his garage and done the same to his wife’s car.

What’s more: They slashed practically every window and door screen of the home.

Bennett never suspected something like this might come with the office when he was elected in April.

“There’s so much graffiti here,” James Altic, the town’s police chief, said a few hours later. “They just covered the place.”

No small amount of it was profane, Altic said. And whoever did it appears to have known exactly who lived there, given that the word “mayor” was used. It seems not to have been just random vandalism, he said.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Bennett said as to who might have it in for him. “Somebody’s mad evidently. Over what? I don’t know. Maybe we’ll find out.”

Altic and Bennett said no particularly contentious town issues have come up of late. Nothing that might have drawn the ill will of anyone, they said.

“We kind of thought everything was running smooth,” Altic said.

Seneca’s townspeople were not without sympathy. Several showed up at the mayor’s house to try to help him get started on the cleanup. Paint remover was getting some of the graffiti off, he said. Still, there seemed little doubt that he would take a hit financially despite having insurance, what with the deductible and other factors, he said.

Perplexed

“THE WHOLE HOUSE is going to have to be painted,” Mayor Mark Bennett sighed in disappointment.

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