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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 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 (), 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.

Watch video of the residents' complaints here (click on "Public Comments" or go to the 1:40:00 mark to go directly to the comments)

Mike June 30, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Release the names of these kids so that their neighbors are aware of these little bums. If anyone knows their names put it on Patch or spread it around town.
pat June 30, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Great job by the police department in catching these teens. I hope that at the very least they will have to pay restitution for the damage they caused to homeowners. A great way to show our appreciation to the police is to attend the July 9 event when the Officers of the Mokena Police Department will be taking on the Fire Fighters from the Mokena Fire Protection District, in 7th annual 12’ charity softball challenge. There will be Jumps for the kids, hot dogs, raffle and silent auction items. All proceeds will be donated directly to the Will County Chapter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Paul Dailing June 30, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Anyone who posts the names of these children on the site will find the comment deleted and their account permanently suspended. The cops can't legally release the names, I can't legally run them and posting names just because you heard from someone else (no matter how reliable your source) would turn slander into libel and put whoever posts the names in quite a legal pickle themselves. So it's for the best for everyone the names stay off this site.
Paul Dailing June 30, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Anyone who posts the names of these children on the site will find the comment deleted and their account permanently suspended. I posted this comment earlier as a reply to Mike, but I'm repeating it here so everyone can see. They are minors. The police cannot legally release the name, I cannot legally run them and there's a whole mess of legal liability anyone who posts those names online will find themselves in. So it's better all around to keep those names off the site.
Mike July 01, 2011 at 12:30 AM
The police can't release the names but private citizens can. Slander and libel refer to LIES about people. If you aren't lying you aren't breaking any laws. Regardless, I hope these bums and their families have to make 100% restitution. I know we can agree on that.
Missy July 05, 2011 at 05:20 PM
I love the way the police and making it sound like "Duh....of course they are just wannabe gang bangers." Like we don't have any real bangers out here in good ole NewFrankMo. There IS a huge drug problem here and there ARE gangs out here. Nothing like the city, but if they keep ignoring it all, it is just going to get worse and worse.
Paul Dailing July 05, 2011 at 07:30 PM
I wouldn't say they're ignoring anything. If you got that impression from the article, that's probably more on me, the writer, than on them. Their disbelief in this case wasn't because it was Mokena but because the tags were gang gibberish. Maybe I should have stressed that more.
Paul Dailing July 05, 2011 at 07:32 PM
I wouldn't say they're ignoring anything. If you got that impression from the article, that's probably more on me, the writer, than on them. Their disbelief wasn't because it's Mokena but because the tags were gang gibberish. Maybe I should have stressed that more.
Missy July 06, 2011 at 03:29 AM
Well, the article does state that the graffiti was "a nonsensical array of six-pointed stars, pitchforks and other insignia of Folk's Nation gangs. Which means it wasn't totally gibberish if the police were able to recognize it as Folk's Nation gang graffiti. And it may very well be wannabes...but I think in general the police and schools ignore the growing drug and gang problem and need to start really addressing it. It wasn't just this article that makes me feel this way, although I appreciate your clarification.

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