DANVILLE — A consortium of law enforcement officers worked together to find and arrest two minors for widespread vandalism here early Monday.
Danville Police Chief Keith Gill says his department began receiving reports of vandalism between 1:30 and 2 a.m. Monday. Homeowners from the Old Farm, Whisperwood Lakes, and Wexford neighborhoods told police someone had spray-painted fences, sheds, and driveways on their properties. Damage has been estimated at $22,000.
Gill says much of the graffiti was profane and racist. It included backward swastikas, racial epithets, and Satanic and gang symbols.
"Even one of our deputies had his new fence graffitied over with black paint," Gill said.
He says 18 to 20 houses were hit by the two youths, who are from Danville. Some of the victims, Gill adds, were targeted for their ethnicity and religious affiliations.
The minors are also accused of blowing up two mailboxes in the Wexford subdivision. Police say they stole roman candles from a neighbor's shed to blow up the mailboxes.
That's what got the postal inspector and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms involved. Gill says everyone combined to chase leads and use forensic evidence to find the accused.
"The other officers and my detectives and day-shift guys all worked their buns off," Gill said.
He says the two youths arrested for the crime, both 17 years old, confessed to all of the vandalism. The case has already been submitted to the county prosecutor's office.
"That doesn't preclude federal charges from being filed," Gill said. "I don't know if there will be or not, but they could if you look at it from the perspective of gang activity, use of explosives, and violation of the Civil Rights Act.
"I don't know what kind of kick people get out of this. It's not like they gain anything."
This marks the second major case of vandalism here in as many years, in which the accused were quickly caught.
"Hopefully, that will send a message," Gill said.