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Juveniles charged in Hampton graffiti case

By Jason A. Smith

Two 13-year-old boys face charges for allegedly spray-painting graffiti on two homes in Hampton.

The juveniles are each charged with criminal damage to property in the second degree. Authorities believe the case may involve gang affiliations on the part of the young suspects.

Hampton Police reportedly began investigating the incident May 11, after two homes on Glenwood Court were spray-painted. Police Chief Rad Porter said the Henry County 911 Center received a call from a local resident, who reported seeing the homes covered in blue and gray paint.

"[The suspects] tagged the two houses with gang-related signs," said Porter.

According to a Hampton Police report from May 12, the owners of the houses were not at home when "extensive spray-paint damage" was done to the siding on both homes. One of the houses, the report stated, had gang symbols and words on the front, the right side and the rear of the residence, and the other had similar graffiti on the left side of the building.

The police document also chronicles additional measures which police took, to learn more about the area where the vandalism took place.

"[An officer] contacted the management of the Clover Ranch manufactured-home community, located immediately behind the damaged homes, and advised them of the incident," according to the report. "Upon a thorough check of the area, two spray-paint cans were located in [a] sewage drain located in the cul-de-sac of ... Clover Ranch. The sewage drain is located where a foot trail exits the woods and leads to the rear area of the damaged homes."

The nine-ounce Fred's brand paint cans reportedly contained visible fingerprints. Police said they also found blue and gray paint floating in a creek between Clover Ranch and the damaged houses.

According to the police report, officers spoke with a witness, who claimed he saw two teenage boys on the day of the incident, riding bicycles at dusk in the area of Glenwood Court.

In a subsequent report dated Wednesday, Hampton Police Detective Jeremy Pirtle wrote that the teens were seen on a surveillance video from Fred's Pharmacy, at 80 Oak Street, buying paint.

The suspects were then apprehended, and questioned by police.

"Both subjects admitted to buying the paint, and to spray-painting the houses," Pirtle wrote. "Both provided written statements of their involvement."