Aug 16, 2013 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Cazenovia Village Police have arrested a local, 16-year-old male in connection with the Lakeland Park Bathhouse graffiti incident from last week. The teen, whose name cannot be released because he is a minor, was charged with a Class E felony for criminal mischief and will be arraigned in Cazenovia Village Court on Sept. 4. If convicted, a Class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison.
Police are continuing their investigation, however, believing there are more perpetrators involved in the rash of graffiti that has spread through the village in recent weeks.
“I don’t believe he is the only one,” said Cazenovia Village Police Chief Michael Hayes. “I believe there are more involved so the investigation is continuing and we’re still asking the public for any assistance they can offer.”
There have been 15 separate documented incidents of graffiti around the village of Cazenovia this summer, typically the words “Loner” or “Naff” spray painted on signs, sign posts, mailboxes, walls and sidewalks.
The spray-painting of the four-foot-long word “Loner” on the bathhouse last week caused thousands of dollars in damage and escalated the crimes from misdemeanors to a felony.
This week, another “Loner” incident was reported in the tunnel at Cazenovia High School, police said.
The arrest on Aug. 14 of the 16-year-old male was made after the suspect turned himself him after seeing the report published in the Cazenovia Republican this week, Hayes said.
“I received a call from an attorney who had been hired by a parent saying his son admitted to the [Lakeland Park] bathhouse incident and wanted to turn himself in,” Hayes said. “He saw the story in the Republican.”
The suspect made no statement and admitted only to the bathhouse graffiti, Hayes said.
“The fact that he took responsibility for his actions will definitely make it easier in the long run for him,” Hayes said. “This is a serious crime, but given his age, the fact that this was his first offense and he was honest about it, it will go a long way to a better disposition.”
Hayes was quoted in the previous Republican story as urging the perpetrator(s) to come forward, saying it would “be easier on them” if they did so rather than cause the police to expend further manpower and money in its investigation.
Village police have been investigating the graffiti for weeks and have mapped and documented every incident, Hayes said. His officers have recovered evidence, including fingerprints that are currently being run through law enforcement databases, and have leads as to the identity of the perpetrator(s).
Depending on the cost of the damage done by each graffiti incident and the work needed to remove each graffiti, charges for the crimes range anywhere from a misdemeanor to a felony. The costs of these crimes to village taxpayers has been increasing due to the extra police patrols on the streets, extra hours being worked by the police chief and police investigators and the time spent by Village Department of Public Works crews cleaning the graffiti and any resultant damage, Hayes said.
Cazenovia Mayor Kurt Wheeler said the village is “very pleased” with the “quick and efficient” work of the police in handling the case, but, as Hayes said, it is believed there are more perpetrators at large and the case remains open.
“The village isvery committed to finding all of those involved and responsible for this vandalism and bringing them to justice,” Wheeler said.
Village police continue to ask community members who see anything relating to the graffiti crimes to call the village police immediately, even anonymously, at 655-3276.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.