Crime

Graffiti found at Bradenton skate park. Cops say it raises red flags about potential gang activity

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Bradenton police are looking for a group of people seen on camera where spray-painted graffiti was found near a downtown skate park.

Four people — two males and two females of unknown age — were seen getting out of a white vehicle that pulled into the Riverwalk skate park around 3 a.m. Tuesday, according to police.

The group used spray paint to graffiti the area around the skate park.

Detectives have not identified any of the tagging, other than the use of “gang gang,” according to Bradenton police detective Ben Pieper, a member of the gang unit. But the phrase has become popularly used by young people and is used in many rap songs.

“It raises red flags definitely if anybody ever puts gang gang in their graffiti,” Pieper said.

The color combinations used, black and red and black and silver, are associated with gang-related tagging but there were no signs of the numbers 13 or 14 traditionally associated with local documented gangs, according to the detective.

“Kids always tag at skateparks,” Pieper said. “Whether it’s going to evolve into a new gang, it could.”

Traditional street gangs have not been as prominent in Manatee County as they were more than a decade ago. Shootings occur less often these days and most often are associated with drug trafficking.

Anyone with information should contact Bradenton Police Sgt. Anthony Cerniglia at 941-932-9305, send an email to crimetips@cityofbradenton.com, contact Manatee County Crime Stoppers online or call 866-634-TIPS.

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