NEW BEDFORD - Fed up with graffiti popping up in Ward Five neighborhoods, New Bedford City Councillor Kerry Winterson is taking matters into his own hands.

Winterson says the graffiti discovered by residents in the area of Chancery and Arnold streets is tagged with the word "Rash," which he believes is the street name of the so-called artist that is committing the acts of vandalism.

Winterson says the unknown vandal has been a thorn in his side since he took office. "I became the councillor in 2014, and I've been dealing with this person who's been doing graffiti throughout the whole area — throughout the city," said an exasparated Winterson. "I'm just filled up. As soon as we clean up an area, and there's a little lull in the action, here it comes again."

After more graffiti was discovered Monday evening, Winterson says he's personally offering a $500 cash reward for information leading to a conviction of the person responsible for the graffiti.

"I'm completely frustrated. The neighborhood is frustrated. You try to clean something up and keep the neighborhood beautified and here comes an individual with absolutely no conscience and doesn't care about anything, obviously."

Winterson says the cost of cleaning up after the vandal is mounting, and offering an incentive to the public for information may end up saving the city money in the long run.

Winterson is asking anyone with information on the vandal's identity to first contact police. He says he will keep informed of any movements in the case and present the reward to the person who provided the tip if a conviction is secured.

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