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Date of Issue: June 14, 2007

Gang 'tags' appear in Holmes Beach

Some graffiti has been "popping up" in southern Holmes Beach of late, and at least one resident is upset about the marks on signs and utility boxes in his neighborhood.

"Over the last few months, there has been a great deal of graffiti generated in the area of my residence," said Kevin FitzGerald.

"The most recent is the utility box at the corner of 29th Street and Gulf Drive. The interesting thing about this particular box is that the original graffiti has now been crossed out and a new ‘tag' has been placed on it. It would seem high activity and escalation of this matter is going on.

"This activity started just about three or four months ago, so if there is a way to stop it, the sooner the better," he added.

Holmes Beach Police Lt. Dale Stephenson acknowledged that the south end of the city has been experiencing tagging, and extra law enforcement has been allocated to address the problem.

"We don't think it's a gang group," he said. "We think it's individual tags, and we've cleaned everything off, and our officers have been made aware of it."

The "tags" were covered with paint late last week, and public works employees will monitor and continue to paint over the markings, Stephenson said.

Graffiti markings have also been observed on signs and utility boxes near the Anna Maria Island Bridge on Perico Island.