02/07/06 — Princeton authorities aim to halt vandalism

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Princeton authorities aim to halt vandalism

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on February 7, 2006 1:48 PM

PRINCETON -- Princeton officials say they will put a stop to vandalism by teenagers who have spray-painted more than two dozen signs around town with gang-related graffiti.

"It's very important to remove the markings as quickly as possible," Police Chief Eddie Lewis told the monthly town board meeting Monday night.

Lewis said four new signs on hand will replace four defaced signs and the others will be repaired. A new sign costs about $100, town officials said. Some of the affected signs were the town's, and others were state signs.

Lewis said gang activity began surfacing several weeks ago. He said about 15 gang members have been identified, and about half are from Princeton. The others are from Smithfield, Selma, Benson and Kenly, he said.

"We know who we are looking for," he said.

Lewis said the members range from 14 to 23 years old.

"We don't have a black-and-white issue," the chief said. "There are blacks and whites in both groups."

"Whatever is done," said Town Commissioner Walter Martin Jr., a Smithfield police detective, "I hope it is done in short order."

Lewis said later that he "would do everything in my power to catch them."

Annexation passes

During its monthly meeting in the Community Building, the town board unanimously passed an ordinance to annex the proposed Cloverdale Farms subdivision off Holt's Pond Road. The subdivision, which is about 25 acres, has 41 building lots.

Mayor Don Rains, who is developing the property, had requested the annexation. Rains was not present at the meeting. No one spoke during a public hearing on the issue. Martin's motion to annex the property passed in a 3-0 vote.

Other business

In other business, the town board:

*Passed a resolution in support of the National Instant Management Service that would centralize operations in during an emergency.

*Received two samples of bricks for the new town hall from a salesman for Triangle Brick.

*Tabled action on a design for the cornerstone on the new town hall.

*Tentatively rescheduled its retreat from Feb. 18 to Feb. 25.

*Declined to fill vacancies on the Board of Adjustment and, instead, considered acting as the board.