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Teens “tag” McDonough-Square businesses

Special Photo: McDonough Police have arrested three teens for “tagging” various businesses on the McDonough Square.

Special Photo: McDonough Police have arrested three teens for “tagging” various businesses on the McDonough Square.

Three teenagers and a juvenile were arrested for spray-painting graffiti on businesses on the McDonough square. One of the businesses “tagged” is a government building, another is a business managed by a law enforcement official.

The teenagers appeared in Henry County Magistrate Court before Judge Robert L. Godwin Friday. Clifford Justin Veal, Matthew Todd Marinello, and Mason Blake Brown, are charged with criminal damage to property.

Members of the quartet are accused of “intentionally damaging property without consent of the owners by spray painting, and said damage thereto exceeds $500,” according to arrest warrants for Veal, 17, Marinello, 18, and Brown, 19.

McDonough Detective C. Morris said the graffiti crimes were reported to police on Aug. 19.

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Special Photo: Mason Blake Brown

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Special Photo: Matthew Todd Marinello

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Special Photo: Clifford Justin Veal

Police initially thought the teen’s graffiti paintings — described in slang language as “tagging” — were gang signs, said Detective Morris. “But after closer examination, we determined it was just some random graffiti,” he added.

One of the buildings “tagged” was the Henry County Public Defender’s Office, located at 40 Atlanta St. Another office spray-painted was South Metro Properties, located at 13 Brannen St. It is managed by Henry County Solicitor General Charles Spahos. Other properties damaged by the graffiti include Mercer & Co. Property and Racetrack Road Properties, located at 16 Hampton St.; and Five Star Sales Inc., located at 53 Atlanta St., said Detective Morris.

Morris credits McDonough Police officer C. Boehrer with solving the crime.

“Boehrer was on routine patrol when she noticed similar graffiti behind a residence,” said Morris. “Officer Boehrer’s quick actions, and attention to details, led the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) to that location.”

CID investigators went to 71-2 Low St., where they questioned the four suspects, which later led to their arrest.

“Three out of the four suspects subsequently confessed to the tagging and implicated their co-defendants,” said Morris.

McDonough Police have noticed the increase in gang activity, which includes “tagging” in the city, he continued. “Whether it’s gang-affiliated or just tagging, this type of thing will not be tolerated in McDonough,” added the detective.

Judge Godwin set a $1,050 bond each for Brown and Marinello. The judge set a $4,200 bond for Veal, who was charged with four counts of criminal damage to property, according to Morris. Marinello waived his preliminary hearing and was released from the Henry County Jail, on bond, Friday. Brown and Veal remained in jail at press time Friday.

The teens’ cases were reset for Sept. 20, at 8:30 a.m.