Prineville teens shoot signs near a sheriff’s office training site
Two Prineville teens shot road signs notifying motorists of a sheriff’s office training program on SaturdayTwo Prineville teens were cited Saturday after shooting up a road sign alerting motorists to a Crook County Sheriff's Office training exercise at the Wildcat Campground approximately 20 miles outside of Prineville.
Jace Patrick Lewis, 18, and a 17-year-old passenger were taken into custody following an investigation of criminal mischief near the campground in Ochoco National Forest Saturday, reported Travis Jurgens, detective sergeant with the Crook County Sheriff's Office.
At least four forest service road signs in the area were similarly damaged, he said.
Crook County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue personnel had assembled at the Wildcat Campground for training Saturday. A sign warning traffic on the road that there was a "Training Exercise Ahead" had been placed on the road, Jurgens explained.
A vehicle being operated by Lewis pulled up, and Lewis shot the "Training Exercise Ahead" sign.
"Two weapons were used," Jurgens said. "A shot gun and a .22."
The estimated damage cost to all of the signs is $800.
Criminal mischief (vandalism) is a Class A misdemeanor.
According to the Oregon State Bar Web site, "The crime becomes more serious as the value of the property damaged increases. For example, if you cause more than $500 damage to a car you can be charged with a felony. The crime also becomes more serious if the property vandalized belongs to a public utility, such as Tri-Met or a telephone company."
No word was given on whether or not shooting a sheriff's office sign in front of sheriff's office employees carries a more significant fine.
Lewis was taken to the Crook County Jail and lodged on charges of criminal mischief in the second degree and reckless endangering. Lewis' juvenile passenger was cited for criminal mischief in the second degree and released to his parent.
Lewis posted $500 security and was out that day, said undersheriff Jim Hensley.
"Both were operating them (the weapons), that's why both got cited for criminal mischief," Jurgens said. "The reason Lewis was charged additionally with reckless endangering is because of all the search and rescue personnel that were in the immediate area."
When the juvenile was taking shots there were not sheriff's office employees or any other people in the immediate area, Jurgens said.
Unfortunately, he added, damaging property is a fairly regular occurrence in Crook County.
"We get signs and mailboxes shot up in the county quite often," Jurgens said. "The detective added he took a case last week involving two mailboxes being shot up.
"The unfortunate part is people are damaging property that belongs to another," he said. "What they need to keep in mind, and what they need to realize is that it is a crime and they may get away with it a time or two but it will eventually catch up to them."
Jurgens said these types of crimes are not always committed by juveniles.
"Actually, it can be by anybody," he said. "I wouldn't limit it just to juveniles. It could be anybody."