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Police identify suspect accused of vandalizing Big Blue Bug

Providence police said on Thursday, June 15, 2017, that they have obtained an arrest warrant for 25-year-old Nathan Beaumier, who has been accused of spray painting “Nibbles Woodaway” with graffiti. (WJAR/Police photo)

A suspect is wanted in connection to the recent vandalism of a Rhode Island icon.

Providence police said on Thursday that they have obtained an arrest warrant for 25-year-old Nathan Beaumier, who has been accused of spray painting “Nibbles Woodaway” with graffiti.

Authorities also said detectives are actively looking into additional suspects in the case.

Meanwhile, the graffiti that scarred the Big Blue Bug for 10 terrible days was covered up Thursday. Nibbles will soon be returned to its original glory.

"It's going to be just like everything is right in our world again," said Tony DeJesus of Big Blue Bug Solutions.

DeJesus said there has been an outpouring of support for the bug since the graffiti was discovered on June 5. More than 100 people called offering to repaint the giant termite that overlooks Interstate 95.

In the end, Dennis Moffitt Painting was selected to repaint the bug in part because one of its employees has done it before.

"Pretty much today is just painting. We're going to spot prime and paint the blue and then come back and put the graffiti coating on," said Mike Moffitt of Dennis Moffitt Painting.

While painters work on the bug, Providence police are working to catch the criminals, and they have a head start.

Exclusive photos obtained by NBC 10 News purportedly show the criminals in the act, and they are in the hands of detectives.

Police also obtained a photo of Beaumier in hopes the public will recognize him.

"I've been told the Providence police have a person of interest and they're looking into that, but as of yet no arrests have been made," DeJesus said.

Graffiti has been a growing problem in the city during the last several years.

Mayor Jorge Elorza introduced his anti-graffiti task force in May to urge residents to report graffiti using the PVD311 mobile app.

In the last month, the app has yielded 138 graffiti reports. As the summer goes on, the numbers are expected to increase.

In June, so far, the app has garnered 3.8 new vandalism reports per day.

Meanwhile, representatives from Big Blue Bug solutions say that they will have a high tech security system installed to try to help prevent any more vandalism.

Repainting the entire 59-foot-long Big Blue Bug should wrap up on Friday. The project will cost hundreds of dollars, even with the paint being donated by Sherwin-Williams.

But that's time and money well spent, says the company, to restore a Rhode Island icon loved by so many.

"But the support within the community is what's really touched our hearts," DeJesus said.

DeJesus said the company is also looking into improving security around the building.

The investigation is ongoing, police said. Anyone with information related to Beaumier or the case asked to contact Detective Kenneth Court at 401-243-6330 or Detective Sergeant William Dwyer at 401-243-6380.

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