BRIDGETON – City police said they are investigating several incidents of property and motor vehicle damage that may be linked to a struggle between rival gangs.
Police said six vehicles and four homes were sprayed with graffiti, and three other vehicles had windows smashed, during a melee allegedly involving members of the Sur 13 and Los Pelones gangs.
The incidents apparently occurred before police said they arrested Roberto E. Mendoza, 22, of the 100 block of East Avenue around 1 a.m. on Saturday.
Police said an officer went to a residence in the 100 block of Walnut Street to investigate a report of a group of people causing property damage. Mendoza advanced towards the officer while holding a knife “in a manner which suggested (Mendoza) intended to stab the officer,” city police charge.
Mendoza refused orders to drop the knife, but eventually put the weapon in a pocket after a second officer arrived on the scene, police charge. Mendoza was eventually taken to the ground by police, who had to subdue Mendoza with pepper spray
A person at the scene identified Mendoza as one of the people allegedly causing property damage, police said.
Mendoza is charged with single counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, resisting arrest and aggravated assault. He was lodged in the Cumberland County jail here in lieu of posting $20,000 bail.
Police said they were releasing no further information about the incidents or the possible gang conflicts.