Local News

Harnett Authorities Investigate Vandalism Of Businesses

Posted August 7, 2003

— Graffiti is spreading across Harnett County and authorities believe it may be gang-related.

For the past couple of weeks, business owners like Miriam Stewart have had their property vandalized.

"It was pretty graphic. You could see it very clearly from the road," she said.

Graffiti was spray-painted near the front door of Stewart's corner stop gas station. It took her almost 10 hours to remove the vandalism and repaint her store.

"We were appalled that someone woudl try to destroy our property. It costs not only us, but we have to pass that cost along to our customers," Stewart said.

However, Stewart is not the only victim. For the past several weeks, graffiti signs have cropped up in Coats, Angier and Erwin.

Two symbols seen the most across the county on the symbols VL. Investigators said the symbol stands for Vatos Locos, which is associated with gangs in California.

Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins is stopping short of calling the graffiti gang-related. He said the tagging could be the work of teens trying to impersonate a gang. Either way, Stewart says this has to stop.

"I have not got a clue who they are or what they are, but I think they need to find something else to do with their idle time," Stewart said.

So far, nine juveniles have been arrested for spray painting grafitti in Angier. Sheriff Larry Rollins says he is depending heavily on citizens to report any acts of vandalism.

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