Vandals tag 20 homes


POSEN | Gang symbols also mar school, vehicles; residents jittery


January 28, 2008




A rash of gang symbols spray-painted on more than 20 homes and a school in Posen early Sunday rattled some residents, afraid of the growing gang presence in their community.


Signs of the Latin Kings were sprawled in black paint across homes, vehicles, fences and garages throughout the village and prominently along

145th Street
, a busy residential cut-through for the town of fewer than 5,000 residents.


The former St. Stanislaus School was also tagged with graffiti. The words and symbols are unintelligible to most but part of a gang language used to mark territory.


The home of Ignacio Carrillo, a Mexican-born American citizen, was among the hardest hit.


Vandals tagged the brick and siding of his split-level home, his pickup truck and sport-utility vehicle, and his fence and garage.


"It's being done by my own people, and I'm really disappointed," Carrillo said as his wife scrubbed the glass storm door clean with paint thinner.


"Some people have no heart, no brain, no class whatsoever," he said. "They don't belong here. And then people wonder why some [Americans] don't want us to live here"


Carrillo said that last month, police charged his son with tagging a neighbor's garage, but the father of two and his son said the officers were mistaken.


"I would never [do graffiti]," said Ricardo Carrillo, a Bremen High School senior. "Gang-bangers make the rest of us [Latinos] look bad."


Neighbor Rich Burrell, a recent Bremen grad, said he does not think Carrillo is responsible for the graffiti that has appeared on his garage three times in the last two months.


"There are so many gangs around here now, and I don't think the cops have the manpower to keep up," he said.


'We need to take a stand'


Burrell's biggest concern is that this latest graffiti splash will kill a deal to sell his home after more than a year on the market.


"I don't want the new homeowners to drive by and think, 'What have we gotten ourselves into?' " he said.


The Cook County sheriff's police graffiti removal team will assist in the cleanup. In the past, Burrell said, the team has arrived at his house within a week.


Posen police Cpl. Bill Alexander said more than 20 homes were hit, but he declined to be more specific or provide other details about the investigation. Alexander said the police chief will issue a statement today.


John and Deana DellaCosta didn't wake up to find graffiti on their house, but they were angered by the strike on their hometown. Saying they don't see enough police presence at night, the DellaCostas want to start a neighborhood watch program.


"I'm fed up," said John DellaCosta, a truck driver and lifelong Posen resident.


"People are getting scared," his wife added. "It's our neighborhood. We need to take a stand for it."