PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Baron Batch, a former Steelers running back, was both upbeat and apologetic when he was released from custody without bail. He’s accused of spraying graffiti along the historic Three Rivers Heritage Bike Trail, much of it depicting elephants.

Outside City Court Thursday night, Batch told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “For those of you who disagree with what happened, I apologize; keep a smile on your face.”

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Batch had surrendered earlier Thursday to face more that two dozen criminal mischief charges filed by Pittsburgh Police that he caused an estimated $16,000 in damage with illegal graffiti he spray painted along the bike trail and Hot Metal Bridge.

Baldwin Borough Police filed eight similar charges against Batch Thursday for graffiti on the same bike trail that runs through a part of their Borough.

“I’m definitely an artist. I have been doing this full-time for about three years. I think people who follow me know that,” Batch said.

Iannotti asked Batch about the significance of the elephant. He said it “stands for community, bringing people together.”

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Tom Baxter is head of a group called Friends of the Riverfront. It oversees the Heritage Bike Trail. Baxter says much of Batch’s artwork is no longer visible along the trail, but, it may not have disappeared forever.

Baxter revealed a conversation he had with Batch recently.

“This in not an appropriate form for expression, we’re going to remove these tags, but I want to work with you, (Batch), you’re an important member of the art community, I would like to find an appropriate form of expression,” Baxter said.

Baxter described Batch’s work as, “an opportunity, not an incident.”

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