Riverside Police Department Press Release

For Immediate Release

Date Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Contact Steven Frasher, Press Information Officer
Phone (951) 826-5147

Graffiti vandals arrested

Riverside, Ca- Two juvenile graffiti vandals were caught in the act of tagging an apartment building and arrested last night, Tuesday, February 6, 2007, in Riverside’s La Sierra area. The 16- and 17-year-old males are students enrolled at Norte Vista High School.

The arrests were the result of added police presence in the area in response to increased graffiti and gang-related activity. Two officers discovered the teens tagging the side of an apartment building at the corner of Arlington and Crest avenues at 10:15 p.m. Red spray paint and a heavy black marker were seized.

"This is the first arrest of the Zero Tolerance Task Force for La Sierra,” said the area’s Ward 7 City Council member Steve Adams. “We're going after anything that diminishes the quality of life for residents. If it moves, and it's breaking the law, we'll arrest it, cite it, tow it or seize it.”

“We’re keeping a very close eye on this part of the City,” said Chief of Police Russ Leach. “Tagging and gang activity will not be tolerated. Arrests are being made.”

In addition to pursuing criminal charges, the City will soon file lawsuits against the parents of the juveniles for the property damage, cost of graffiti removal, police investigative costs as well as the City’s attorneys fees and costs up to $25,000 per incident, City Attorney Gregory Priamos said. The lawsuit will also seek reimbursement for all prior acts of vandalism committed by these juveniles. “It is critically important that these parents take responsibility for their children’s actions and prevent these criminal acts from happening again.”

The apartment wall was repeatedly vandalized, as soon as it was cleaned by City crews, by rival groups involved in a “tagging war” – often indicative of stepped up gang activity.

The two youths were arrested and booked into Juvenile Hall on charges of vandalism and conspiracy. Repeated vandalism may be raised to a felony charge.