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Flowery Branch man accused of slashing mail truck tires, spray-painting anti-police phrase on city’s red caboose

A Flowery Branch man was indicted last week on charges of slashing two tires on United States Postal Service trucks and spray-painting anti-police sentiments across the city including the historic red caboose, according to authorities.

Anthony James Cirone, 22, was charged Jan. 10 with six felony counts of interference with government property and one count of felony vandalism to a place of worship.

Across multiple days in early November, Cirone was accused of spray-painting phrases such as “F— Police” and “F12,” a slang phrase with a similar meaning to the former.

0118 2023 Cirone
A Flowery Branch man has been accused of vandalizing the city's red caboose by spraypainting the slang phrase F12. The phrase has a similar meaning as F--- the police. (Photo provided by Flowery Branch Police)

Flowery Branch Police said Cirone spray-painted the city’s red caboose with the phrase “F12” and other similar markings on the caboose in blue paint. The indictment alleges this happened between Nov. 5 and 7.

Police said there were also rocks and railroad ties thrown to break the windows surrounding the caboose, though Cirone is only facing charges in the indictment for allegedly spray-painting the caboose.

Flowery Branch Police Chief Chris Hulsey said there were roughly $2,500 in damages to the city’s property. The spray paint was fixed immediately, though Hulsey was unsure about specifics on the other repairs. 

The Flowery Branch man was also accused of spray-painting a similar message on the back of the gymnasium at First Baptist Church of Flowery Branch. Police estimated the damage at $250 plus an additional cost to repaint.

On separate days, Cirone was accused of spray-painting “F— 12” on the side of Best Canvas Products on Cantrell Road and spray-painting two “X” marks on the entrance signs for the Waterstone subdivision.

On Nov. 8, Hulsey said he and a handful of other officers were doing surveillance. The police chief said he was in the cemetery and Cirone walked right past him. 

“Of course, I did not know that he was the one that was doing all this,” Hulsey said. “He actually walked by me beside the cemetery that night and walked around to the post office and walked right by the undercover officer and stuck a knife in two of those tires right in front of the undercover officer.”

The Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office did, however, dismiss a handful of loitering charges as well as charges concerning tampering with evidence, second-degree criminal damage to property and a separate count of interference with government property.

The DA’s office said it was dismissing those charges because it was instead pursuing the counts indicted by the grand jury.

Cirone is in the Hall County Jail with a $24,700 bond.

Defense attorney Jake Shapiro said he could not discuss the case as there are pending negotiations going on in the case.