A Panama City Beach man was arrested and charged with criminal mischief on suspicion of causing more than $1,000 in damage to a church and hundreds of dollars in damages to two other businesses, reports the Panama City News Herald.
A Bay County Sheriff’s Office deputy literally caught 19-year-old Elmer Persinger red-handed during an investigation into apparently gang-related graffiti found Saturday night at Emerald Coast Assembly of God Church, Affordable towing and Johnstone Supply.
The graffiti consisted of a series of words and symbols associated with the street gang known as the Bloods. Members of the gang are known to wear red clothing to identify themselves as members of the Bloods.
According to an arrest affidavit: the deputy was sitting in his patrol car writing a report when Persinger, dressed in all red, passed by the car. The deputy initiated a conversation with Persinger, who admitted his affiliation with the Bloods but denied painting any buildings. The deputy noted in his report that Persinger had red paint on his hands.
Persinger said that he had been with some other men earlier that night who may have tagged the buildings to set him up. The deputy also noted in his report that a number of the symbols painted on the church and the other buildings were identical to some of Persinger’s numerous tattoos.
“With evidence increasingly pointing to Mr. Persinger’s involvement” the deputy took Persinger to the station for an interview and he was subsequently arrested.