Monday, May 24, 1999

Gang graffiti is sprayed on cruiser

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CLEVES — Police think vandals who damaged a police cruiser with spray-painted graffiti early Sunday may be targeting a village police officer for physical harm.

        “We're taking it very seriously,” Police Chief Richard Rothwell said.

        Sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 1:50 a.m., someone used spray paint to place graffiti on a marked 1997 Grand Victoria cruiser, an officer's personal car and another city vehicle, police said. The vehicles were in a parking lot in the rear of the police station at 101 N. Miami Ave.

        The spray-painted damage that covered the entire police cruiser, including the light bar and windows, included a gang-related reference to homicide, Chief Rothwell said.

        The number “187” was sprayed on the cruiser. That number is the California Penal Code reference for homicide and is used as gang slang for killing a police officer, the chief said.

        Because of the extent of damage and the gang-related graffiti, police do not think the vandalism was a juvenile prank.

        “At this point we believe it's someone who felt they had a reason to get back at the police department,” Chief Rothwell said.

        Some of the graffiti, Chief Rothwell said, had reference to women, which causes department officials to think the threats may be directed to one of both of the department's female officers.

        To the department's knowledge, the village has no gangs, Chief Rothwell said, although there have been recent incidents in the village involving gang-related graffiti.

        Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to call the Cleves Police Department at 941-1212. Callers can remain anonymous.


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