Trail of vandalism angers elderly residents

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 27/05/2014
Dorothy Clarry
CHARLOTTE CURD/ Fairfax NZ

DAMAGE DISGUSTS: Dorothy Clarry, 87, had her car vandalised outside her home on Cook St on Sunday night. 

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Five cars, two trucks and more than 12 properties were attacked by vandals during a weekend rampage in New Plymouth.

A trail of tagging, stretching from Devon Intermediate down Devon St West to Seaview Rd and on to Cook St, was reported to police yesterday.

"It's absolutely mindless," Constable Craig Walsh said.

"This is a trail of destruction. It's absolutely stupid."

Walsh said both private and commercial properties had been targeted with black and white spray paint.

Tags ranged in size and content but included things like "west side nigga" and crude references to the genitals.

"There's some obscene stuff," Walsh said.

Devon St West resident Eric Pool said the damage was extremely frustrating.

"We recently spent a lot of money repainting, so it was pretty hard to wake up and see that," he said.

Dorothy Clarry said she woke to find her green car tagged with the words "cook street," in white spray paint.

"It's disappointing, cause I'm pretty careful with my car," the 87-year-old said.

"It's damn stupid. I don't see what they get out of it. I'm not sure they have a conscience."

Walsh said police had talked with some elderly and retired residents who were concerned people had entered their property.

"They are really upset," he said.

The Taranaki Daily News also spoke to several of these people who were clearly frustrated, but asked to remain anonymous.

"I'm not sure you could print what I would like to say," one man said.

While the New Plymouth District Council will repair the damage to areas that front public spaces, those who had their vehicles tagged would have to talk to their insurance companies.

Council parks manager Mark Bruhn said the news that so many houses and vehicles had been targeted was dreadful.

"Any form of vandalism is shocking," he said.

"It creates victims."

Bruhn said the council budgeted $153,000 per year for repairing vandalism.

"Clearly it would be better if we didn't have to spend money on it."

"We work with police to try and identify these people and bring them to court," he said.

"They should be locked away in my view."

Police are seeking information from the public to identify those involved.

Anyone with information can contact the New Plymouth police on 759 5500.

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