Originally created 11/05/02

Vandalism hits before big game



AIKEN - The cross-town football rivalry between Aiken High School and South Aiken High School has gotten ugly.

An Aiken Department of Public Safety officer on patrol at South Aiken High on Monday morning discovered vandalism in the form of green and gold spray paint. The paint covered a few campus buildings, including the rear of a concession stand near Thoroughbred Stadium.

Nearby, the officer found empty paint cans, some in a Wal-Mart bag. An employee of the store told the officer she remembered a young male buying all the green and gold paint a few hours earlier, according to a report from public safety. Green and gold are Aiken High's colors.

Officers are reviewing the store's security cameras, but no suspect has been identified, they said.

Capt. Wendell Hall said he hopes there aren't more vandals to track down before Friday's game at Aiken High.

"We're making extra effort to make sure it doesn't become a retaliatory thing," he said, referring to heightened patrols on both campuses. "We would like them to play football Friday night and make that the contest."

Last year, water balloons were hurled at South Aiken students while they walked through the parking lot and a toilet was cemented in the middle of South Aiken's quad.

Aiken High also has been a victim of vandalism and pranks in years past.

Aiken High Principal Joe Padgett said he hopes a revenge plot is not being planned against his school.

"It doesn't seem like we've ever had one quite on this magnitude," he said of the vandalism at South Aiken. "It is just not the way to show your support for your team."

Reach Matthew Boedy at (803) 648-1395 or matthew.boedy@augustachronicle.com.