(WRCB) – A group of vandals targeted an Athens playground in broad daylight.
were surprised to learn the suspects defacing school property were no older
than the kids playing on it.
One of the
suspects is just nine years old.
it's not the first time this group has caused trouble.
could face harsh punishment.
Principal Debbie Harrison says her staff was surprised to find green paint all
over the school playground.
But what surveillance cameras showed was even more shocking.
"We were able to run the video back and pinpoint exactly who was involved,"
says Principal Harrison.
"It ranges from say your 20s, all the way down to a 9-year-old," says Detective
Athens police say the majority of the suspects are local middle schoolers. One
is an elementary student.
Detective Heath Willis says the group has been tagging businesses, breaking
into buildings, and running with a much older crowd, including one student at Tennessee
"Even our own city stop signs," Willis says. "Trees were being vandalized with
derogatory comments towards police."
The crimes go back three months.
Police have come close to making arrests before, but the victims chose not to
these kids are from our housing units, single-parent families," Willis says. "They'll
get off the school bus and just take off."
Principal Debbie Harrison did press charges, hoping parents will step up.
"We looked at it as we needed to do something to make sure this didn't happen
again," Harrison says. "So, we wanted to press charges."
Willis hopes it's a wakeup call for all parents.
"We've had kids in the past who have started out the same exact way, and sure
enough the minute they turned 18 they were in the county jail for something a
little worse than what they were doing before," Willis says. "You know, it just
police have arrested two of the eight suspects. Their names are not being
released because they are juveniles.
working with child services to take action with the nine-year-old suspect.
says it will be up to a grand jury whether or not to indict the oldest suspect,
who is 22 years old.
he could spent up to six years behind bars.