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University of Massachusetts police investigating graffiti incidents on Amherst campus

UMass Deputy Police Chief Patrick Archbald said Thursday that the incidents, all of which have taken place this month, are under investigation.

Officers took the first report Feb. 4, a day after members of the athletic department found letters and an emblem on a garage door at the Curry Hicks Cage. Subsequently police discovered blue, light blue and black lettering on two other sections of the building and recovered spray paint cans.

While the Curry Hicks Cage vandalism was initially believed to be an isolated incident, three more buildings were found with the same style graffiti on Monday, Archbald said. The first was Morrill Science Center, followed by the Fine Arts Center and then Herter Hall. This time yellow and black paint were used to write letters, which Archbald said were J and P and may represent initials.

Even though police are investigating these incidents as gang related, Archbald said they do not raise safety concern for the campus.

“There is no nexus between these sorts of tagging and graffiti and the existence or prevalence of gang-related activity on campus,” he said.

Archbald said graffiti isn’t uncommon and officers regularly meet with building maintenance workers to identify the worst spots.

“We seem to be a target for a lot of this,” he said.

If suspects are located, they will be charged with damaging state property, Archbald said.

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