Gangs tag homes and cars in Columbus

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  A Columbus neighborhood is still cleaning up after gang members left their mark.  The suspects spray painted graffiti on driveways and cars.

Columbus Police tell News Leader Nine there is no connection between the taggers and those who were tagged, it was a random crime.  People who live in the Rowland Ave. neighborhood, off of Milgen Road, say it is disturbing.

"Shock, I could not believe. I did not know what to think," said victim Billie Jo Silva.

Silva and her husband woke up Sunday morning to PIRU spray painted on their car, but they were not alone.

"We had some houses tagged, repainting the houses takes time.  Time and expense in a time where people cannot afford unnecessary expenditures," said Lt. John R McMichael of the Columbus Police Department.

Silva is "Very angry. My husband and I work very hard for what we have and for people to come in and just vandalize it, and have such disregard for other people."

There were 10 victims in all. Other residents did not want to speak for fear of retaliation.

Columbus Police say even though the symbols were associated with national gangs, they do not believe there are any hard core gang members in the city.

"People that we describe as 'wanna be's,' mostly younger kids, middle school and high school aged kids," explained McMichael. One of the victims calls them thugs and says she will not let them push her out of her home.  "We want the signs fixed. They are not going to come in our neighborhood again.  We are watching, and getting tag numbers, and calling the police for anything suspicious," said Silva

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