Graffiti suspect sorry again?

Tualatin police nab five juveniles in 'graffiti painting spree'

TUALATIN - Apparently community service and public apologies may not be enough to deter teens from participating in graffiti spreading.

'Disappointing. Very disappointing,' said Tualatin City Council President Ed Truax about hearing that a teen who had apologized before the council for a graffiti ordinance violation one month ago was charged July 19 with another graffiti-related violation, this time a felony.

Tualatin police arrested five juveniles on the morning of July 19 on graffiti charges. All five were charged with a class C felony because of the damage costs associated with the 22 properties tagged by the group.

'People like that are not welcome in our community. We need to figure out a way to make that perfectly clear,' Truax said.

Council members had thought that they had made their stance and tolerance on graffiti very clear when they approved a new graffiti ordinance that prohibits people from not only committing acts of graffiti but carrying tools associated with it.

One of the juveniles, Juan Nava, 16, of Tualatin, went through Municipal Court just last month on charges of carrying graffiti tools - a violation of the city's new graffiti ordinance. The teen was not ordered to pay any fines but was sentenced to community service and a public apology to the City Council. The apology, apparently, wasn't heartfelt.

Officers arrested the five male juveniles - ages 12 to 16 - at about 2:15 a.m. July 19, according to reports. The boys were on what officers called a 'graffiti painting spree,' which targeted 22 separate locations in the Stoneridge neighborhood. The spree lasted about an hour.

'Our officers were extremely busy all night and into the morning taking reports from numerous victims,' said patrol commander Lt. Brad King.

The boys tagged homes and other property with 'SSC13,' which likely stands for 'southside criminals,' Mathiesen said.

The juveniles were arrested and charged with criminal mischief in the first degree, a class C felony. Four of the five juveniles were listed as Tualatin residents, and one was identified as a Wilsonville resident. The boys were referred to the Washington County Juvenile Department and released to their parents.

Sgt. Royanne Mathiesen noted that the police were alerted to the area because of a call from a resident.