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Police investigate gang ties to graffiti

Residents in east and west Glendale worry the tagging might signal more problems.

September 22, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

Police are investigating graffiti tied to an East Los Angeles-based gang that appeared in east and west Glendale, prompting concerns from residents.

Police noticed the graffiti about a month ago in the area surrounding Fremont Park in the 600 block of Hahn Avenue, said Lt. Susan Hayn, who oversees the department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau.

In her report to the Community Police Partnership Advisory Committee on Wednesday, Hayn said the graffiti caught the eyes of local residents.

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“It scared the hell out me because I know what that could mean,” Glendale resident Lenore Solis said. “If we don’t nip it right away, it could cause some problems.”

She said she noticed the graffiti on an outside wall of the 7-Eleven at Highland Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard. The graffiti made reference to potential gang ties to the Mexican mafia, according to Solis, who said she has learned about gangs from working as a chaplain at the Twin Towers Jail in Los Angeles.

The graffiti first appeared as two initials representing the gang’s name, Hayn said. But in the last couple of weeks, graffiti appeared in two areas in Glendale and have spelled out the gang’s name, she said.

“Normally, we don’t see it spread across the city that way,” Hayn said. “Generally, when someone is coming into the city to set up a particular area, they will do it in that area to show that’s their territory.”

Police have launched an investigation to find the vandals and determine how many gang members could be living in the city, Hayn said.

No documented gang members are known to be living in the city, she said.

“We are not really sure if it’s someone who has come in to establish a clique … or if it’s somebody who is an associate, family member or friend,” Hayn said, adding that it could have also been someone who just “wanted to come over to Glendale and put the graffiti up in the area.”

Police have handed out fliers to school officials advising them to look for any similar gang graffiti, Hayn said, and residents have been advised to immediately notify the department if they see more tagging.

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