Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 11, 2013

Bluefield vandalism incident: Police on lookout for stolen truck

BLUEFIELD — Police in Bluefield are looking for a stolen vehicle that they hope will also lead them to a group of juveniles responsible for a widespread act of weekend vandalism in the city.

The vehicle was stolen the same night that several streets and neighborhoods in the city were vandalized by graffiti. Four vehicles, nine homes, three street signs and the Trinity United Methodist Church were all vandalized in an alley between College Avenue and Albemarle Street as well as on Cumberland Road and Washington Avenue.

“At this time it is believed to be — and I feel safe to say — several juveniles (who are responsible),” Patrolman A.L. Crook said. “They can be prosecuted through juvenile court on a destruction of property charge, which is more or less the case we are working.”

Crook said police are still looking for a silver 2001 Ford Ranger with West Virginia tags that was stolen from the same area that was vandalized. “It was in the same area, and at the same time,” Crook said of the vehicle theft. “We are working on a corresponding investigation between the two. It appears to be related.”

The vandalism itself was widespread. In addition to homes, vehicles and signs, driveways, rock retaining walls, steps, a garage door, a wooden fence, real estate signs and other items were vandalized. The vandals also spray painted various profanities on the church, as well as references to Satan. An upside down cross also was painted on the side of the church.

Crook said phrases ranging from “suicidal monkey,” “zombie cult,” and “God is dead” also were spray painted on the property. Obscenities aimed at the police also were spray painted on the street.

“It’s caused a lot of problems for a lot of people,” Crook said. “The community in that area is definitely upset.”

The church is hoping to turn the negative into a positive. The congregation posted a message on their Facebook page Monday addressing the situation — and inviting those responsible for the vandalism to church next Sunday. The message reads:

“To the individuals who painted our wall; aka Suicidal Monkey, Zombie, and JBAMS$. We are not angry with you. In fact we believe you are talented and gifted individuals whom Jesus has big plans for, plans for good and not ill. Knowing ones enemies is a good thing, but knowing ones friends is better. Your enemy skulks around in the dark seeking to destroy all good things God wants to give you. Now, come meet your friends next Sunday morning at Trinity Church.”

Crook said red, black and green paint — and some white — were used in the graffiti attacks. Any storeowner who may have recently sold paint matching those colors to a juvenile or group of juveniles is asked to contact the Bluefield Police Department.

Crook said anyone with information concerning the vandalism, or the location of the missing vehicle, are also asked to contact the police department at 304-327-6101.

The property owners targeted by the vandals also are facing a great expense when it comes to attempting to remove the graffiti.

“It appears as though it is all spray painted,” Crook said. “I’ve personally spoken to a few of the people who have been unable to remove it properly, or have further destroyed their property just attempting to remove it. One individual in particular had gotten a certain item that was supposed to take it (the graffiti) off, but it actually removed the paint from their vehicle.”

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

 

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