Lewd Vandal Leaves Greasy Imprints On Neb. Town

(AP) Boy, how people here wish their busiest vandal would find another way to make his mark. Some man has been skipping from one business to another in the dark of night, pressing his naked behind _ sometimes his groin, sometimes both _ on windows.

It's easy to tell.

Store owners, church workers and school janitors have had to wash lotion and petroleum jelly off the windows he selects.

"This is the weirdest case I've ever seen," said Police Chief Ben McBride.

A wad of chew in his mouth, he didn't crack a smile as he talked about the case.

"It's not funny," he said. "We're worried about the next step."

Will he move up and commit a more serious crime?

Valentine, a town of about 2,650 people, uses its name as a promotional tool, calling itself "The Heart City." Downtown sidewalks are painted with hearts, and locals encourage people from around the country to send their Valentine's Day cards to the local post office so they can be mailed out with the word "Valentine" stamped on them.

Near the scenic Niobrara River in remote north-central Nebraska, Valentine was named one of the top "wilderness" towns in the country last year by National Geographic Adventure magazine.

Locals find some humor in the strange brand of graffiti and have taken to calling the vandal the "Butt Bandit."

But they also can't help but cringe when finding his marks.

"We were completely grossed out," Kalli Kieborz said. She works in a downtown building.

"One day I walked into the office and an employee said, 'Oh, my God, we've been struck!' she said."

Said Kieborz: "You could, like, see the whole package."

It all started in spring 2007. The window of a Methodist church was greased with an imprint.

Chief McBride figured it was a high school prank. But the church kept getting hit, even after police staked it out.

The bandit struck business after business, window after window last summer.

Then he _ and maybe, McBride said, copycat vandals _ stopped over the fall and winter.

"People said he was done," McBride said. "Then he started back up this summer."

During one particularly brazen session, virtually all the windows at a local hotel were imprinted.

Late last month, Dana Anderson was alerted by a fellow employee at Valentine Midland News & Printing that their downtown building had a dirty window.

"It was very visible," Anderson said. "We used a long-handled squeegee to clean it off."

McBride said no one has reported seeing the vandal in action. The only clue is a blurry picture of him caught by a surveillance camera at the middle school last year.

The man was somewhere between 6 foot and 6 foot 3 and was slender. He had a dark complexion, and McBride said the man's dark hair was styled in a "1980s, feathered look."

Like the chief, Cherry County Attorney Eric Scott didn't find any humor in the vandalism.

"It's a malicious act that will be prosecuted once the person is apprehended," Scott said.

"This is not normal behavior for Valentine. It's not funny or something people want to be exposed to."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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