Was Brrr Arrested?
Update: The identity of the suspect has been removed from this story. This change reflects our commitment to balance the lasting and sometimes harmful impact of digital news coverage with personal privacy concerns, especially given the nature of the accusations.
You've seen Brrr's work. It's pervasive.
The round face with eyes half-closed accompanied by the letters "BRRR" is drawn on walls, trash cans, overpasses and even portable toilets all over Louisville. The hashtag #Whoisbrrr is equally pervasive on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr.
The quest to find Brrr's true identity has been a pastime of sorts in certain circles around Louisville. Now the Louisville Metro Police say they know who Brrr is. Local artist who was arrested Wednesday afternoon in connection to an alleged assault and robbery at the Regalo gift shop on S. 4th Street.
The shop had been selling t-shirts with the Brrr artwork on them. The shirt was allegedly based on a Brrr tag on the Regalo shop, whose managers said proceeds from the shirt's sales would go to Brightside, the city's beautification department.
Police accuse the artist of grabbing 19 T-shirts from the shop and tussling with the owner, Jeffrey Dotson. The artist allegedly told Dotson that he couldn’t sell the T-shirts because the image—that’d be the Brrr graffiti tag—was “copyrighted,” according to an arrest warrant.
Brrr and Dotson pushed each other and the artist ran off with the T-shirts. On his way out, Brrr allegedly knocked over a window display (on purpose), breaking about $100 worth of stuff, the warrant says.
Police allege that Brrr’s tag can be found on “hundreds of properties city-wide and created a great deal of expense to other property owners.” They also allege that he’s made it known publicly known that he made the tag.
The artist has been charged with second-degree robbery and third-degree criminal mischief.
Addition: The comments on the story have raised a few questions about the t-shirts and copyright of graffiti. We talked about that with an intellectual property lawyer. Here you go.