BREWSTER Police Chief Nattalie Cariker said officers responded to several complaints of possibly gang-related and politically charged graffiti in February.
The month saw nine malicious mischief complaints, all relating to graffiti, Cariker said. By comparison, the department recorded 21 malicious mischief complaints in all of 2017.
On Monday, Feb. 26, officer Anthony Coble responded to a report of graffiti at the Brewster Medical Family Health Center, 520 W. Indian Ave.
The tag said “ENE 14,” possibly an initial and a reference to the local gang, “Norte 14,” Cariker said.
Another tag on a vehicle – the first reported in February – said “crips.” It could be a nod to a gang based in southern California, also known as Original Crip Homies, the chief said.
The other instances of graffiti in February occurred on Brewster residences, Cariker said. Building owners assume the cost of graffiti removal, according to Brewster Municipal Code.
Several tags on residences said “F- Trump,” one said “Brazy Life” and others included initials and language possibly indicative of a gang affiliation, she said.
All complaints remain under investigation.
From witness interviews, Cariker believes the suspects are under the age of 18, she said. The chief has asked Brewster businesses to record the names of people that purchase spray paint, she said.
Malicious mischief cases involving graffiti are notoriously difficult to investigate because people tend to tag at night, wearing hoodies to shield their faces from security cameras, Cariker said.
“Sometimes, it’s just luck that we come across someone spray painting,” she said.
Since joining the department in January 2001, Cariker said graffiti complaints in Brewster have been decreasing to “few and far between.”
“This has been the most graffiti around town in years,” she said.
Cariker asks those with information about suspects to call the police department at 509-689-2331.