"I don't know how something like this can happen here," said one city official who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity. "Bowie Police squad cars are constantly driving by this spot day and night. The person that did this must have a lot of nerve or is just plain stupid. Well, we've got a holding cell on the other side of this wall waiting for him or her."
The Pac Man caused a steady flow of onlookers on what would normally have been a quiet weekend morning at City Hall.
"I love it," said 19-year-old Summer Sett, a student at Prince George's Community College. "It made me smile, and it brought all these people together. How can that be wrong?"
|The "Pac Chart," July, 2012|
Over the last two years, Pac Man graffiti has been showing up throughout Bowie on street signs, park benches, roadways and even U.S. Postal Service mail collection boxes. The public has been divided over whether the images should be considered art or vandalism. The Pac Man graffiti artist tried to illustrate that division by creating the "Pac Chart" last July on a noise reduction wall along Annapolis Road in Bowie. Ironically, the chart showed that the majority of people enjoyed "street art," but the image represented a turning point in public support on social media sites for the Pac Man graffiti.
"I originally thought it was all in good fun," said Rocky Ledge, a Bowie resident since 1966. "I would see a few extra dots on a street sign here, and a harmless painting on the road over there. I felt the Pac Chart was different. I felt like a line had been crossed, and I started to think about our tax dollars being used to clean this stuff up."
Multiple Pac Man images appeared in Bowie during the summer of 2012, but it stopped with the Pac Chart - until last Saturday.
Victoria Hites, a sophomore at Bowie High school, enjoys the mystery that surrounds the Pac Man images. "People have been talking about it all year at school," she said. "I've heard a lot of stories. Some people were saying that it's the work of the GoatMan. Other people claimed that a priest was doing it. The most widely accepted story is that an 18-year-old home-schooled boy was the main person, and his friends would serve as lookouts while he did his work. He supposedly went away to college, and that's why it stopped. Maybe he came home for Easter," she said with a smile.