Police: Vandalism not likely the work of local gangs

Published 11:06 pm Thursday, October 2, 2008

FRANKLIN—Police do not believe that the past weekend’s spate of graffiti across Franklin was gang-related, or represents an uptick in gang activity. Rather, it was the work of one or a few individuals that were only interested in performing acts of vandalism, they said.

“There is no reason to believe it was gang-related,” said police spokesman Lt. Tim Whitt. “Street gangs here are not big into graffiti; they are more into robberies, drug dealing and shootings.”

Several businesses in downtown Franklin, and a handful of residences in the city, were hit by vandals over the weekend. Police believe the vandalism occurred sometime between 10 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday.

The vandals used black, white, red and green spray paint to put up various symbols, numbers and letters.

Among those symbols were “666,” “420” and the anarchy symbol, which is a letter A in a circle.

“These symbols aren’t related to any gangs in the city,” Whitt said, adding that the scrawls from the past weekend do not match any of the graffiti in photographs from previous incidents of vandalism in Franklin.

Adding to police suspicion that the weekend’s vandalism was the work of posers, another group of letters that was put up over the weekend were “VdotR,” but Whitt said this was usually written as “VR” by actual gang members.

Whitt said that the more well-known street gangs from popular culture, such as the Bloods and Cryps, do not have a presence in the city. Instead, Franklin’s gangs are typically “local, street-based street gangs” primarily composed of “juveniles and young adults,” Whitt said.

Franklin police do not have any suspects at this time. The incident is under investigation. Whitt asked that anyone with information on the vandalism call Franklin Crime Stoppers at (757) 562-8599.