Longform

Bangin' in L-Dub

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It's a woman who used to be in a Lake Worth gang who now has teenaged sons of her own who are gang members. "I've helped her and her husband out over the years," he remarks as he motors past a new home, under construction, turned into a spray-painted gang billboard. "As they get older, they get away from it, and they've given me information on a lot of crimes."

The life of a Lake Worth gangster isn't terribly lucrative, Hermanson says. Rolling farm workers for cash, selling weed and coke, and occasionally stealing a car represent typical spoils. But when people are getting blown away on city streets and drive-by shooting cases remain unsolved, cops give the gangs a harder scrutiny. On April 11, for instance, a 57-year-old man was shot and killed while walking his dog near State Road 7 and Lake Worth Road, and no witnesses have come forward.

Hermanson spends an hour or so each day surfing for gang info, knowing that the clues gleaned from the web don't normally point toward big game like murderers. "The real bad guys we need to catch," he says, "they're not sitting at home playing with a computer."

But it's a start. You can bet that, when Hermanson notices something new — be it the angle some kid's hat is cocked, a new gang sign or tattoo, a new nickname or catch phrase — it's going into the Book of Knowledge. For next time.

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Jeff Stratton
Contact: Jeff Stratton