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Teens tagged with felony vandalism charges

Case involves more than 375 incidents over 11-month period

Posted: February 17, 2010 12:26 p.m.
Updated: February 17, 2010 12:48 p.m.
Four Newhall teens ages 13-15 are in deep trouble with the law and their parents after local detectives arrested them on charges related to 377 related vandalism incidents over an 11-month period, which caused property damage estimated at more than $150,000, according to a report released this morning by the Santa Clarita Sheriff's Station.

Deputies from the city of Santa Clarita/Santa Clarita Sheriff's COBRA team have been investigating the 377 related incidents of tagging or graffiti vandalism for the past 11 months. The incidents of vandalism were occurring primarily in the Newhall area at schools, parks, local businesses, and on paseo trails.

Through the investigation and the use of the city of Santa Clarita's award winning Graffiti Tracking System, the deputies were able to determine that similarities in style and content of the markings were pointing to the same group of taggers.

Deputies also determined the tagging crew was a new one not previously seen in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The deputies got the break they had been hoping for when an anonymous person provided information critical to the furtherance of the investigation.

Over the course of several months, detectives from the COBRA team followed several promising leads. Ultimately, the 11-month investigation culminated in the service of four search warrants at residents in Newhall and the arrest of four teenagers suspected in the crimes.

Detectives from the city of Santa Clarita/Santa Clarita Sheriff's COBRA team joined school resource deputies, Community Interaction Team (CIT) deputies, and other station detectives to serve the search warrants in the 25000 block of Chestnut Street, the 25000 block of Hawkbryn Avenue, the 24700 block of Alderbrook Drive, and the 24800 block of Walnut Street, Newhall.

Deputies recovered dozens of pieces of evidence connected to the crimes including pens, markers, paints, and books.

One of the juveniles, male age 15 of Newhall, is believed to be responsible for 240 of the incidents with total damages estimated at more than $100,000. The other three males, ages 13 and 14, are believed to be responsible for 137 incidents with damages exceeding $58,000.

The four juveniles, who had no prior criminal record, now face felony vandalism and misdemeanor possession of graffiti tools charges.

They were booked at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and later released to their parents pending future court proceedings. 

The teenagers and their parents may be responsible for the costs related to damages if convicted and ordered to pay restitution.


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