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Graffiti on Manorhaven handicapped walkways alarms village officials

Graffiti is seen on Cambridge Avenue on Tuesday,

Graffiti is seen on Cambridge Avenue on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 in Manorhaven. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A spate of graffiti on new handicapped walkways in Manorhaven has alarmed the waterfront village, leaving officials struggling to remove the blue, permanent paint.

Officials have offered a $1,000 reward for anyone with information about the vandalism that leads to an arrest.

Patrick Abramski, the village's chief code enforcement officer, said employees "tried some elbow grease before, but they couldn't get it off."

"It's heartbreaking," Abramski said. "We spend all this time trying to clean up the village, and to see something like this -- we just put in these brand new handicap walkways."

Residents began calling about the graffiti on Friday. So far, the paint has defied the village's cleanup attempts, and the code enforcer is looking at hiring a professional crew that specializes in removing graffiti.

On some handicapped ramps, the letters "LBF" appeared. The words "Live Breathe Futbol" are painted on one road. One image appears to be of a soccer ball.

The graffiti is on the handicapped-accessible ramps where Cambridge Road meets Dunwood, Edgewood, and Graywood Roads; it says "LBF Spread The Movement" where Firwood and Cambridge Roads meet; and at Cambridge and Hickory Roads, there appears to be a soccer ball attached to wings. Where Cambridge and Sands Point Roads meet it says: "Live Breathe Futbol."

There is debate about the letters' meaning. Leslie Gross, the village's clerk-treasurer, said a search of "LBF" on the slang website Urban Dictionary turned up several derogatory phrases, to the dismay of village officials.

Domenick Cucinotta, 26, of the Philadelphia company "Live Breathe Futbol," which sells apparel and gear for soccer fans, said the company had nothing to do with the graffiti. Cucinotta said a soccer ball drawn looks similar to the company's logo, and that "LBF" is an abbreviation fans use to promote the brand.

"It wasn't a promotional push on our end," Cucinotta said in a phone interview. "Probably just one of our customers, one of our fans, just somebody that loves the brand."

The ramps were installed after Mayor Giovanna Giunta first took office in 2012.

"To do it on these brand new handicapped ramps was beyond reason," Gross said.

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