Bluffton neighborhood, golf club vandalized

rlurye@islandpacket.comOctober 9, 2013 

Vandals left a trail of paint through a Bluffton neighborhood during separate sprees on Monday and Tuesday, defacing nearly 30 traffic and community signs.

A superintendent of Eagle's Pointe Golf Club noticed some of the vandalism when he arrived at work about 6 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies think that sometime during the previous night, vandals used spray paint to cover the club sign with stars and obscenities, and used paintball guns and other methods to splash paint on 23 of the community's stop signs, sparing only the first sign at the front of the neighborhood.

"Once they got past that (one), they went to town," said Joe Pantano, president of the property owner's association board of directors.

Four speed-limit signs also were hit. And on Tuesday night, the neighborhood was vandalized again -- red paint was splashed over the eagles on both sides of the neighborhood's entrance sign.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office estimated the damage at $8,400; however, the community might be able to repair or replace the signs for $3,000 to $4,000, Pantano said. He plans to get a new estimate for the front sign, which had only minimal damage before Tuesday night.

"They just dumped more paint on it," Pantano said. "It was just ridiculous. I don't know what thrill they get out of this."

Three playground swings were broken loose from their chains during the past three weeks, he added.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating but had no suspects Wednesday afternoon, according to Sgt. Robin McIntosh. Deputies asked to have Eagle's Pointe placed on extra patrols for two weeks, according to an incident report.

About three miles up Fording Island Road on Wednesday, similar black marks and splotches of white paint covered the entrance signs for Sheridan Park Circle. McIntosh said she did not have more information about that incident or whether it was related to the Eagle's Pointe vandalism.

News of the property damage buzzed around Eagle's Pointe on Wednesday, said Joe Pallo, 80, who lives around the corner from a stop sign that was painted. While vandalism is rare in the neighborhood, mischievous activity pops up every Halloween, he said.

"Last year wasn't so bad; they just soaped some car windows," Pallo said. "Hey, it's kid's play. I used to do it, too. But this ... this is bad."

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