By Jon Schroeder
The Cove Herald
As vandalism continues to drop since July, the Copperas Cove Police Department has made a second arrest in connection with several of the incidents.
Brandon Mickel Butler, 17, of Copperas Cove, is out on $27,000 bond after appearing before Justice of the Peace John Guinn.
He was arrested last week on three warrants for graffiti under $500 and three for graffiti over $500 and under $1,500.
Roberto Graciani, 19, was arrrested Aug. 11 on the same counts. He’s being held in Coryell County Jail on $27,000 bond.
Both were taken into custody in connection with six acts of vandalism which occurred on July 22.
While vandalism dropped sharply heading into August — with four new cases in the first two weeks of the month, compared to about 60 in July — investigators are still working on some of the July cases.
“We still have (vandalism) sporadically, but not like what we had in August and the late part of July,” Copperas Cove Police Department spokesman Lt. Danny Austin said.
On July 23, Copperas Cove High School’s Lea Ledger Auditorium sustained about $250 of damage from initials and obscenities painted on several walls and support columns both outside and inside the building, according to police reports. The inside of Copperas Cove Junior High has also been targeted by vandals.
According to a police release, blue spray paint was recently used to deface the walls of the two elementary schools with gang references and a six-point star. The graffiti at Mae Stevens Elementary School referenced “107 CREW MOBSTA,” and the one at Hollie Parsons Elementary School read “07 HOOVER CRIP.”
Although one of the pieces of graffiti refers to the Crips, a gang started in Los Angeles with blue and black colors, Austin said at the time he’s not aware of gang activity in Copperas Cove and has not added anything to the contrary in the time since.
North Pointe Church has also been targeted in recent weeks. The vandalism there began on July 27 when suspects slashed the fuel lines, tires and seats of two golf carts. The reports continued to pour in the rest of that week. Church leaders said they encountered more damage upon arriving at the office the following Tuesday morning: sheds on church property had been burglarized, two riding lawnmowers were dismantled and an outdoor vending machine sustained heavy beatings.
On that Wednesday evening, police were alerted to damage at the church’s construction area to a front end loader, which had its windows, air-conditioning system and gauges crushed by a rock. Vandals struck again the next day, smashing golf cart headlight and taillight assemblies, a glass sanctuary door and 15 windows on the church’s two vans.
Austin said at the time there was “a good possibility” that the crimes were committed by the same person or group. Nothing of value was reported missing from the church.
Contact Jon Schroeder at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 501-7475.