A rash of graffiti taggings earlier this week has Red Bank authorities trying to figure out if someone is trying to signal the presence of a gang.
Seven properties in town appear to have been sprayed with some variation of of the text “SGD13” in blue spray paint sometime between Monday evening and Tuesday morning, says police Capt. Steve McCarthy.
Five of the buildings attacked were on Monmouth Street and one was on Broad; the Red Bank Middle School was also hit.
Police have no suspects and admit they know little about the meaning of SGD13 and whether the name corresponds to an actual gang.
“This is new to us,” McCarthy tells redbankgreen.
Police are consulting with the Monmouth County Prosecutor‘s Gang Task Force and police in Long Branch, where the SGD13 graffiti has also appeared and may have originated, he said.
The name is believed to refer to “southern gangster delinquents,” McCarthy says, but little is known about the appellation.
“We don’t know that it is a gang,” he says.
Similar graffiti had appeared elsewhere in Red Bank in recent weeks, including on the former Anderson Storage building at Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue, McCarthy says. But those incidents were “spotty,” he says.
The latest sprayings targeted three Monmouth Street properties between Broad Street and Maple Avenue at numbers 19, 27 and 65; and two between Maple and the train station, at 165 and 172. Also struck were Jade Garden restaurant at 143 Broad, and the middle school.
Police don’t have any indication of the order in which the properties were hit or if more than one vandal was involved, McCarthy says.
He declined to say what specific measures police would take in response, but “generally, we’re going to step up some presence in these areas. All of the patrols are well aware of what’s going on.”
Schools superintendent Laura Morana says she saw no graffiti on the school building as she left her board of education office next door for the night on Monday, but it was there when she arrived Tuesday morning.
She said school officials contacted police and scrubbed the graffiti away.
“You want to remove it as quickly as possible because you’re clearly showing this won’t be tolerated,” she says.