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Gang members sought after fight at restaurant

OREM — Police are searching for a handful of teenagers who were involved in a gang fight at a Mexican restaurant in Orem early Saturday.

Police say members of the Provo gang Provo Vatos Locos smashed car windows and hit people with bats at an Orem Beto's, 63 W. Center, about 2:30 a.m.

The incident was sparked earlier when the gang started arguing with another group at a Beto's in Provo at 1230 N. State, according to Orem Police Lt. Doug Edwards. The gang followed that group when it left the restaurant and headed to the Orem eatery, he said.

Police say the gang — armed with bats and crowbars — tailed the group to the neighboring city because an ex-girlfriend of one of the members of the gang was with the group.

After the altercation, police said, one man was taken to a Utah Valley hospital with severe head wounds. He was released after receiving stitches.

One male juvenile was arrested and booked into the Slate Canyon Juvenile Holding Facility for investigation of aggravated assault and criminal mischief.

The restaurant was not damaged during the fight, and all of the employees are fine, said Israel Gomez, a manager at the Orem Beto's.

Orem police believe they have identified the gang members and expect more arrests or charges to follow, Edwards said.

Although the gang that police believe was involved in the fight on Saturday is based in Provo, Orem has had an increase in gang-related activities, according to police.

During the summer — and especially during the past month — Edwards said he has seen a dramatic increase in the incidents of "gang tagging" or spray-painting gang symbols or names.

Last weekend, Edwards said, four cars were sprayed with the word, "gangsta."

Individuals involved with tagging generally have some type of gang involvement, officials say, based on some of the symbols and words they leave behind.

However, some of the taggers are getting harder to track down.

"Instead of signing their own signature, which leads directly back to them, they're using more generalized tagging," Edwards said.

The culprits attack anything that will hold paint but normally go for buildings and fences," Edwards said.

Orem police said it's still too early to know if the gang members involved in the assaults are also involved in the recent taggings.