Middletown, OH - A new gym planning to open next month in Middletown has been hit by vandals. Rather than going to the police, the owner tracked down the teen who did it. He says the teen will have to clean it up if he wants to avoid criminal charges.
The owner, Steven Hartman comes the building on South Breiel everyday. His dream of turning the once vacant grocery store in the Dedicated Motivated Fitness Center come closer and closer to reality.
However, he faces a new setback after he found "808" not once, but twice scribbled on the side of his future gym Tuesday morning.
He says the vandal has targeting his business more than once. "It was a just a sense of feeling violated. Everything that you work hard for and these people work hard for and want to happen. It's getting set back now again," he said.
Hoping to find the person who did it he posted pictures of the graffiti on Facebook offering a $500 reward for information about the person involved and promised not to prosecute if it was a minor. A few hour later he learned that a 15-year-old caused that damage. "His mom reached out to me and said hey I believe my child did this to your building and it's time for him to pay for the consequences."
She says that she is thankful that Hartman is not going to press charges. Hartman says the 15-year-old will have to work to paint over the grafftiti. He says he got into trouble as a kid and a probation officer showed him how to get on the right path leading to a career in fitness.
Now he wants to try to help the teen who caused the damage. "It's not alway quick about putting somebody in jail. Lets try to fix the problem and the problem isn't so much the paint we can fix that, but lets stop this kid before he ends up doing something that's serious and hurts somebody else and puts him away for a long time."
Hartman tells us the damage is expected to cost around $500.
He hopes to have it cleaned up and the fitness center open in September.