Raleigh, N.C. — Dozens of northeast Raleigh homeowners woke up Friday morning to find their neighborhoods hit by graffiti vandals overnight.
Raleigh police detectives are investigating 20 to 30 cases on Sedgefield Pines Lane, Starmount Drive and other streets off Trawick Drive. Everything from fences, signs, mailboxes, posts and houses were tagged. City crews used power washers and wipes to try to remove what they can, concentrating on graffiti that can be seen from the street.
Police said it's unlikely the graffiti is the signature of gangs.
"I would categorize today’s crime as more an act of vandalism than a gang-directed activity," Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. "While there were gang connotations to some of the markings, the wide range of property that had been damaged made it highly uncharacteristic of an organized gang activity."
Some neighbors were unconvinced, however, and looked up the symbols on the Internet.
"Evidently it's a gang word saying this is my property or this is my area or whatever," said a resident who only wanted to give her first name, Jackie.
Resident Tony McClain, whose car and garage door was tagged with the letters BSG, didn't wait for crews to clean off the black markings. He stayed home from work to remove the lettering.
"If it's something gang affiliated, I'm not going to help them by being a rolling billboard," he said. "I just refuse to do it."
Sughrue said gangs are dispersed throughout the city. The department uses both beat patrols and specialized units to gather intelligence to disrupt gang activities, he said.