Alleged longtime vandal arrested in New Garden

Police say juvenile defaced buildings with “VANE” and “MOVE” tags

By Kathleen Brady SheaManaging Editor, The Times

IMG_0295A vandal who has systematically defaced property in New Garden Township since the summer of 2012 has been arrested, police said on Thursday, May 1.

In a news release, police said the graffiti tags “VANE” or “MOVE” have been prominently displayed on community buildings, schools, private residences, sheds, sewer treatment facilities, convenience stores, shopping centers and abandoned buildings, primarily throughout southeastern New Garden Township and surrounding jurisdictions.  Several areas have been victimized more than once after removal of the graffiti.

Within the last several weeks, police said they developed a juvenile suspect and took steps to have the intelligence information confirmed.  Those investigative efforts resulted in the execution of a search warrant for a residence in the  Southampton Parish in Somerset Lake in Landenberg on April 15.

Police said the search revealed material evidence related to the acts of graffiti.  The suspect, who is not being identified because he is a juvenile, is presently cooperating with law enforcement, police said.  Police said that “VANE” stands for “victims are never enemies,” and that the graffiti was not gang-related.

The New Garden Township Police Department requests that if you experienced graffiti vandalism involving the tag “VANE or “MOVE,”  contact Sgt. Keith Cowdright at 610-268-2907, ext. 102.  A follow-up press release will be issued once investigators have had an opportunity to compile all incidents and damages, police said, adding that they anticipate numerous criminal charges being filed against the juvenile.

Finally, the police department recognizes that some residents’ frustration – especially if they were victimized more than once – could lead to failing to report the incidents. Police are urging citizens to take the time to perform the following steps if they are victimized:

Immediately contact the police – investigators will create a written and visual report of damages, a photographic record (evidence) of damages, and assess whether or not it is gang-related.

Remove the graffiti quickly – removal vigilance is the best step in preventing a reoccurrence.

Keep a record of repairs – if a suspect is later identified, these records will be used for restitution orders.

Report suspicious activity – It only take moments to create graffiti vandalism. If you see something suspicious or out-of-the-ordinary, report it to the police immediately.

New Garden Township Police Chief Gerald R. Simpson said that input from the public could help to solve such crimes. “This case is a good example of that,” he said, explaining that it’s unlikely that police will catch someone in the act. However, bits of information are extremely helpful, and when combined, often lead to arrests. He said he also appreciated the investigative work done by the Kennett Square Police Department, which also helped facilitate the arrest.

For additional information and tips, visit the New Garden Township Police Department at its website, or on its Facebook page.


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