Battle Creek’s Smiley Face Tagger Says He Is Ready To Face Consequences
The man responsible for a string of relatively positive graffiti messages in Battle Creek says he wanted to make people smile and is ready to turn himself in nearly a month after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Late last year, spray-painted messages began popping up on buildings in Battle Creek. For the most part, the messages where somewhat uplifting. Along with smiley faces, there were messages like “It will be OK”, “Put the dope down”, and “Look Up”. The smiley faces and related messages showed up on private property as well as public buildings. Most of the vandalism was along Capital Avenue between Dickman and Columbia Roads. A warrant for Bradley Bartelmey was authorized by the Calhoun County prosecutor for malicious destruction of a building of more than $200 but less than $1,000 in early September.
Now the man responsible says the messages were part of his personal battle with addiction, a coping mechanism following a relapse. 33-year-old Bradley Bartelmey admits that after drinking alcohol again, he got really sad and down. Instead of picking up another bottle, he grabbed a can of spray paint and ran around town one night spraying messages like "we're in this together" and "It will be OK" to make people smile, according to WWMT.
The price tag for cleaning up the graffiti was in the thousands, with some places being cleaned only to be tagged again. For his part, Bradley says he would like to clean it up himself and reimburse those that have already footed the bill. He also expressed remorse for the stress he has put on his family and said he never intended to hurt others.
Bradley says he plans to turn himself into police on Monday and has contacted them in regards to his intentions. He says he has been to jail before and is scared to return.
The charge against Bartelmey is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of a year in jail or a fine of $2,000 or three times the amount of the damages.