The Hamptons Police Department’s Virginia-class submarine, Jaws VIII, was vandalized over the weekend by what appears to be a local graffiti gang.
Sometime between Friday evening and Sunday morning the submersible’s sail (the tower on top) was almost entirely painted over with multicolored tags and messages, such as “Frog Boy Crew,” “East End Firm,” “BWI Is Not a Crime” and a number of other words police couldn’t identify because of the stylized lettering.
HPD spokesman Larry Hirsch said the sub had been moored at a local marina while it awaited a dry dock large enough to lift it out of the water for the season. “I’m appalled by this thoughtless crime,” Hirsch added, shaking his head woefully. “Since arresting our first offenders on June 7, the HPDSU [Hamptons Police Department Submarine Unit] has taken great strides to make our waters safer, and these kids—whoever they are—have spit on that progress,” Hirsch said. “It’s a slap in the face.”
Jaws VIII was not under guard when the taggers struck, but all of the hatches were locked and its location was never shared with the public, Hirsch said, explaining the lack of security around the $1.7 billion vehicle.
HPD acquired the vessel for free as part of program outfitting smaller police departments around the country with surplus military hardware and equipment, but the high price of nuclear power, staffing, upkeep and dockage falls to local taxpayers.
Hirsch said several graffiti removal experts are working quickly to bring Jaws VIII back to its original, elegant black sheen, while also making sure the sub remains as smooth and swift as the day HPD received it.
The extra large dry dock is expected to arrive any day now from New London, Connecticut, and Hirsch said the submarine would be guarded closely until the entirety of it is under lock and key.