Vandals on Ocracoke Island used paint and concrete over the weekend to damage the cars of two State Highway Patrol troopers who were there to enforce state alcohol and seat-belt traffic laws.
The island was crowded with visitors to the 30th annual Ocracoke Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament, which started Thursday and ended Sunday. Over the weekend, two troopers handed out 59 tickets, including 32 citations for seat-belt violations and five charges of driving while intoxicated.
They woke up Saturday morning to find that their patrol cars had been vandalized overnight – one splattered with green paint, the other with a concrete block thrown through the rear window – in their motel parking lot.
“It’s embarrassing that this has happened,” Sgt. Jason Daniels of the Hyde County Sheriff’s Department told the Ocracoke Current, an online newspaper.
The Highway Patrol spokesman, First Sgt. Jeff Gordon, said he did not know whether the vandalism was intended as retaliation from Ocracokers unhappy about the troopers’ presence there. But he said the Highway Patrol would continue to enforce traffic laws on the island.
“We’re paid to basically enforce the motor vehicle laws of the state, and we’re going to do that,” Gordon said. “It’s no different whether you’re in Ocracoke or up in Boone or wherever. Our No. 1 goal is to ensure people’s safety. When you have a large influx of people in an area, we’re going to be there to be sure people are safe.”
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