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Crips tag Burlington courthouse

By Michael Donoghue, Vermont News First,

Graffiti, symbols and messages that appear linked to a violent national street gang were spray painted on buildings, a home and car in Burlington overnight, officials said Thursday.

The paintings, which included the word “Crip” a well-known nationwide gang based in Los Angeles, targeted several state buildings in Burlington, officials said.

A series of state office buildings on Cherry Street appeared to be among the primary targets. They included the Judge Edward J. Costello Courthouse, the former Vermont Health Department building (named for longtime state official and legislator John Zampieri), the Vermont Probation and Parole office and the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations.

Parts of Vermont have been flooded with an influx of gang members, who have been recruiting new members, including youthful offenders in Burlington for drug and gun crimes, federal and state authorities have said.

A Chittenden County deputy sheriff assigned to the courthouse and some members of the court security team spotted the spray paint along the Cherry Street side of the Costello building when they arrived at work Thursday morning, officials said.

There was reference to “AGC” which appears to mean the Avalon Gangster Crips, one of the largest and most violent street gangs in the United States.

The numbers 40, 53, 88 and 116 that match the four known subsets of the Crips also were spray painted on the building.

The blue spray paint was on the front door, the brick wall and granite pillars at the courthouse. At least two men were wearing masks, according to security video.

The blue is the known color of the Crips, whose main rival is the Bloods, who wear red.

Rob Schell, the director of security for the Vermont Judiciary, said the spray painting was done by more than one person and they quickly departed.

He said Burlington Police also was notified. Attempts to reach Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad for comment were unsuccessful.

Murad, who has been very chatty with TV, newspapers and radio since arriving in Burlington several years ago, has pretty much gone silent for the past month with the arrival of a new elected mayor, Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, at City Hall.

Murrad’s current appointment by former Mayor Miro Weinberger expires June 30.

Schell said the Vermont Building and General Services Department had its cleaning and security crews removing the paint from the courthouse shortly after it was found.

A blue Corvette parked at Northgate Apartments off North Avenue also was tagged with a gang symbol using silver paint, a sheriff’s department spokesman said. There also was a report of a house in the New North End that was spray painted.


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