A giant "F--- Trump" spray painted on your garage is not something you want to wake up to.
But that's what happened to at least two homeowners in Northeast Minneapolis who – despite having no Trump signage in their yard – got tagged with the inflammatory, explicit message.
Luckily for them, Ben Smith was in the neighborhood with a power washer.
And a big heart.
"You can have your opinion, you can hold your signs, you can do whatever you want. But why would you vandalize someone else's property?" Smith told GoMN. "It's just crappy,"
Smith said he was in the neighborhood at the time, saw the post on /r/TwinCities, and happened to have his power washer (a piece of equipment he doesn't normally have with him). So he messaged the user who posted it, got the address – which wasn't too far away – and headed over.
"I just drove over there, got in the alley and knocked on the first guy's door and ... I asked him if I could just wash it off quick," Smith said.
Another garage across the alley was tagged too. So they checked with that homeowner, and Smith cleaned that one off too.
"It kind of was a unique situation, lucky timing," he said.
He posted the before/after to the company's Facebook:
Why did he do it?
He's not very political, isn't a supporter of either candidate, he said. But he's got two young children and he wouldn't want them to see it.
But ultimately, he hopes people have a simple takeaway: "I'm not a man of words, but I would just say something like: Just be a good person. Don't be crappy. It's just that simple. That was really hurtful what they did to those people."
No 'widespread' political vandalism
Corey Schmidt, spokesperson for the Minneapolis Police Department, told GoMN he hasn't noticed an uptick in political vandalism in Minneapolis since the election. There was one instance with a private business spray painted during the protest on Franklin Avenue Thursday night, but that's about it – he hasn't heard of any "widespread" issues.
However, if you do happen to get tagged, you can actually self-report it. Call 311 or go to the Minneapolis 311 website and file a police report there. (You can also call 911, but there's a good chance they'll refer you to 311, since it's not an in-progress thing.)
"People can take photographs, they can do all that and they can enter that [information] online," Schmidt said.
The report goes into the department's police reporting system, and gets filtered to the local officer in charge of property crimes. They can take it from there, and will reach out to see what other information they can gather on a possible suspect.