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School, businesses marred by vandals

(ran SS edition of METRO & STATE)

Vandals with spray paint defaced three Clearwater buildings, including an elementary school, with ganglike graffiti.

Discovered Monday, the graffiti was painted on several places at Belleair Elementary School at 1165 Lakeview Ave. Around the corner on Missouri Avenue, walls at Art Warehouse, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Sunshine Mall were vandalized.

One part of the graffiti at Belleair Elementary was in red paint, but the remainder was black spray paint.

The graffiti included black spades, tridents, the letter S and illegible scribbles. Police said similar graffiti were reported in the same area several times this summer.

Clearwater Detective Wayne Millen examined the graffiti at the school but could not say definitely that it was gang-related.

"It's hard to tell," he said. "This stuff is so crude. And they don't know how to spell."

Millen said the graffiti appears to be the work of young kids who somehow know something about gangs such as the Black Spades and the Latin Kings.

"There's not enough on the graffiti," the detective said. "There are some gang indicators, but it's new, and it looks like it's just somebody young. It's pseudo gang."

Millen found some cans and other possible evidence at the school but had no suspects.