Police Arrest Two Mokena Teens for 'Wannabe' Gang Graffiti
In a twist that surprised no one, the culprits behind nonsensical graffiti aping gang tags turned out to be local teens.
The culprits behind several incidents of pseudo-gang-related graffiti turned out to be suburban poseur teens.
Police arrested two Mokena boys – one 16, one 13 – for spray painting a nonsensical array of six-pointed stars, pitchforks and other insignia of Folk's Nation gangs along houses on Aileen and Fiona avenues near the Metra tracks on two separate weekends this month.
"We were able to clear up all 16 of those damage incidents (from) over the weekend of the 4th and the weekend of the 11th," Mokena Police Chief Randy Rajewski said on Wednesday afternoon.
Several residents whose homes the teens tagged spoke at the June 13 village board meeting. The teens hit several of the same homes both weekends.
Homeowner Karen Balata, 52, had just finished re-painting her shed from the first time around.
"My paint wasn't even three days old when they hit us again," she said during the meeting.
Read more in "Residents Sound Off on Wannabe Gang Graffiti," Patch's coverage of the June 13 board meeting.
Because of the boys' ages, police will be working with the Juvenile Division of the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office to proceed with charges, Rajewski said. He said they'll be looking at criminal defacement to property and trespassing charges against the boys. Their names are not being released because of their ages.
Although police stepped up patrols along the Metra tracks (resulting in an uptick in arrests along the tracks), it was a separate call that led to these arrests.
While investigating a complaint involving an older family member of the 13 year old, police came across some evidence in the house that implicated the boy, Rajewski said. Both the 13 year old and his friend later confessed to the vandalism, Rajewski said.
If the boys were trying to convince homeowners their sheds and fences had been tagged by gang members, they failed. Both police and residents who spoke at the June 13 board meeting said they suspected teens all along.
"Some of them have got to be wannabes," homeowner John Murphy, 68, of the 19400 block of Fiona Avenue, said.