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Police say park vandalism not racially motivated

September 14, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Vandalism last month at the Donald "Mike" Waters Memorial Playground on South Main Street in Chambersburg was not racially motivated, borough police said after charging two juveniles in connection with the incident.

Juvenile petitions for criminal mischief, desecration of objects and criminal conspiracy were filed with the Franklin County Juvenile Probation Department last week against a 15-year-old boy from Chambersburg and a 16-year-old from Martinsburg, W.Va., police said.

Although racial epithets were spray-painted on playground equipment and the plaque honoring the late community activist for whom the park is named, Detective Will Frisby said race was not a factor in the Aug. 22 incident. The youths were of the same ethnicity as the racial slurs used in the graffiti, he said.

A citizen's tip led to the two juveniles being investigated, Frisby said. Both were released to their parents, he said.

Frisby said the juvenile from Martinsburg is a former resident of Chambersburg and was visiting the other juvenile when the incident occurred.

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The department is still investigating other incidents of spray-painted graffiti in the area that also occurred during the same period, Frisby said.

Police said it cost $165 to clean up the graffiti at the playground. The charges against the juveniles are misdemeanors, Frisby said.

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