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Residents Sound Off On "Wannabe" Gang Graffiti

Local teens, not gangs, suspected in rash of vandalism.

Residents of took their case to the village board Monday night, asking if there's any way to get Metra more involved.

Fences and security cameras were among the suggestions of several homeowners near the railroad tracks in the 10400 block of Aileen Avenue. The residents said they found their sheds, fences and houses "tagged" by spray painted graffiti resembling gang signs and again over this last weekend.

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.

Homeowner John Murphy, 68, of the 19400 block of Fiona Avenue, was hit the first time around, but not the second. He said the graffiti was a black eye for the village.

"They're slapping you guys in the face," he said.

One problem is the "gang signs" don't appear to be gang signs.

"Some of them have got to be wannabes," Murphy said.

Police Chief Randy Rajewski said the department is circulating pictures of the graffiti among departments with greater gang problems to see if there are matches. But so far, the mishmash of six-pointed stars, pitchforks and other insignia of Folk's Nation gangs appears to be the work of suburban poseurs.

"That's what it's looking (like), but we want to be certain," Rajewski said.

Mayor Joe Werner said the responsibility – and likely the clean-up costs – for the vandalism will fall to the teens' parents who let them venture out at the midnight hours the homes were hit.

"Really, ultimately, this becomes a matter of 'Where are the parents?'" Werner said.

To see video of what the residents had to say, visit the village of Mokena website and scroll down to "Public Comments"

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