ENID — Nearly a dozen residents, business owners and a school have seen their properties hit with gang-like graffiti in the past two weeks, leaving police wondering whether it's the work of gangsters or imitators. Police have identified at least one minor youth as a suspect and are working on obtaining an arrest warrant for another man, police Capt. Dean Grassino said Wednesday. The police will turn their findings on the teenager to the state Office of Juvenile Affairs. "If someone claims to be a gang member, we're going to treat them as a gang member,” Grassino said. "If they dress the part and they claim to be that, then we're going to treat it as such.” The tagging started in July when police received a report of the word "blood” painted on an abandoned roadside utility box. Bloods are a gang. Later, someone painted "crips” over the tag. The Crips are a rival to the Bloods, Grassino said. Grassino said the problem may be connected to cousins from Enid and Oklahoma City who may be in rival gangs. Like in any city, gangsters are known to reside in Enid, Grassino said. "Maybe not to the same extent like Oklahoma City or Tulsa ... but we are certainly not a blind eye to it,” he said. Grassino said the area is not necessarily noted for gang activity, and the tagging incidents are unusual for Enid, he said.
Biggers worriesNo injuries have been reported with the tagging. Police would like to keep it that way. They are seeking criminal charges against a man accused of throwing a rock through a home's window and setting a car on fire. The fire and the smashed window were in retaliation to gang tagging, a police report indicates. Damages from the tagging range from $20 to $300, police reports state. But another concern — and maybe a bigger one — is that if there is gang activity, it could bring in guns or drugs, Grassino said. To stem that, police have handed over reports to the state office in charge of juvenile crime. Because the tagging was not done in police presence and the crimes are misdemeanors, police cannot arrest the minors, Grassino said.
No targeted victimsInvestigators think most of the tagging was done randomly, Grassino said. For example, a middle school was sprayed multiple times. "They are a victim to circumstance,” he said. "I think most of all these victims are innocent. They have nothing to do with (gangs).” One victim declined comment for this story, fearing repercussions. Another victim did not want her identity revealed. Her husband also noticed gang writing on a stop sign. She said she won't be terribly concerned until she sees groups of people hanging around. "We've not had any of that,” she said. "I kind of feel it's just wannabes.”