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 Swastika marks unsettle Woodboro

Erin Cunningham
Frederick News-Post

A group of children might be to blame for a recent spree of vandalism that has some residents wondering what has happened to the other-- wise quiet town.

The problems, including theft, egg throwing and general mischief, started last summer,

raid Burgess Donald Trimmer. But the past month has been the Worst.

Residents said a woman's lawn mower gas tank was filled with water, windows have been broken and someone's water was turned on while she was at work, resulting in a hefty water bill.

"There's been quite a bit of ,vandalism in town," Mr. Trim-pier said.

The most recent sign of property damage is a thin black swastika, outlined in yellow

paint on a white garage at the corner of North Second and Elizbeth streets.

The 1-by-l-foot symbol of ate has gone relatively unnoticed by some neighbors, the building's owners, Mr. Trimmer and commissioners for about a month.

Mr. Trimmer said he passedby the marred building six times Wednesday without seeing the swastika and said no commissioner, sheriff's deputy or resident had mentioned the symbol to him.

The owner of the building, who declined to give her name, also said she did not know about the swastika.

"It's upsetting to know that it's there," she said. "I will get it taken care of."

A man who would not be named, fearing retribution, said he called the town office Wednesday to let officials know aboutthe swastika.

"I was just sick of it," he said. "There's this group of kids that have this town paralyzed. The cops won't touch them, and the town won't do anything about it."

When asked what measures have been taken to stop the vandalism Mr. Trimmer said: "It's just a bunch of kids being smart" He then said he had no further comment before hanging up the telephone.

Commissioner Roger Hub said he had not heard about the swastika and refused to comment on it or the recent vandalism.

Sheriff's deputies said a writ-ten a report was taken about the swastika. Woodsboro's commissioners and Mr. Trimmer receive a monthly briefing from the sheriff's office that is part of their town meeting, Deputy First Class Jennifer Bailey said. But she is not certain whether or not town commissioners have received written news of the swastika yet.

"Dependent upon whenit happened, it may be in next month's report, or if it happened several weeks ago it may have been in last month's," she said.

Mr. Hub did say the town has an arrangement with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office for a deputy to patrol Woodsboro at various times.

The town's April 2004 meeting minutes referenced several juvenile complaints made to the sheriff's office. The May 2004 minutes list the Community Deputy Program as "reinstated" and "in full force."

Deputy Bailey said in addition to a 24-hour a day patrol officer assigned to Woodsboro there is also a deputy funded by the town that patrols the area in a four-hour block.

"I'm not going to give exact times because that would defeat the purpose of us being up there," she said.

The patrolling deputy runs service callswhile also acting as a noticeable presence of law and order in the community that Kelly Hines of Second Street said has a lot of problems with children running wild.

"If you don't keep your stuff locked up, God knows what will happen," she said.

Ms. Hines `who has lived in Woodsboro for nine years, said she knows children have sliced tires and window screens and sees no sign of it letting up.

"It's never been like this before," she said.

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