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Md. man chalks up alleged crime to 'misunderstanding'

Tuesday - 6/28/2011, 4:00pm  ET

GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- A local Gaithersburg man who wrote on town sidewalks has been charged with "malicious destruction of city property."

David Abraham used Rust Oleum spray chalk and a stencil to advertise his online daily deal, a sort of Spanish-language Groupon in Olde Towne Gaithersburg.

Officer Dan Lane says police approached Abraham and told him what he'd done was against the law.

"We asked him to clean it up. He said, 'No, it takes too much time,'" Lane says.

Abraham says police officers drove by while he was spray painting and didn't try to stop him, but the next day he was charged with defacing public property. Abraham was stunned.

"I said it's going to take some time and [the officer] said 'Fine, I'll write you up.'"

The 31-year-old told Gaithersburg Patch that children write on sidewalks all the time.

He vows to fight for the right to advertise, and is willing to risk a $500 fine and possible jail time. His plan?

"I'm just going to tell the judge that it wasn't done maliciously."

To prove his point, Abraham said that the paint is already starting to fade 17 days after he applied it.

WTOP's Evan Haning contributed to this report. Follow Evan Haning and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)