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Three Arrested in Graffiti Crackdown

Two men and one teen committed more than 90 incidents of vandalism, sheriff’s officials said.

Two men and one teen were arrested during an on-going investigation into a recent outbreak of tagging.

Michael Claude Epps, 19, and Casey James Reilly, 18, were arrested April 20 on suspicion of committing about 90 acts of vandalism in Temecula, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Vance Stolte.

A teen was also arrested, but his name was withheld due to his age. All the suspects were from Temecula.

The trio cost taxpayers almost $10,000 to fix the damage, the sergeant wrote in an incident report.

Epps faces felony charges of possessing narcotics for sale, maintaining a place for drug sales and furnishing narcotics to a minor. He also faces felony and misdemeanor charges of vandalism. He was released on April 29, according to jail records.

Reilly faces a felony charge of vandalism. He was released April 22, according to the records.

The arrests were the result of a several-week-long investigation into tagging throughout Temecula. Clues lead investigators to get search warrants for the suspects’ homes, according to Stolte.

The District Attorney’s Office and the city of Temecula sought restitution for the damage, he said.

The Temecula Police Department stepped up anti-graffiti enforcement last month with funding from a grant the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance awarded the city.

Deputies visited local retailers as part of the program to talk to them about laws relating to spray paint.

“Vandalism and graffiti have a negative effect on neighborhood appeal and also drives away potential home buyers and business owners,” Stolte said. “Ultimately, property values decrease and criminal activity increases.”

Each year, the City of Temecula spends more than $300,000 on getting rid of graffiti, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Potter.

Anybody with information on this case or any case of vandalism were asked to call the sheriff’s department at 951-696-3000.

shiesty May 28, 2011 at 06:07 PM
Try finding something to do in Temecula for people around the age of 16 - 19 , without a stable mode of transportation and low income . let me know what u find ,.
TVOR May 29, 2011 at 06:25 AM
Sheisty, I used to ride my bike more than 20 miles to go to the beach. I used to get some materials and build go-carts. I used to build bike jumps in the canyons. I always had stuff to do because I went out and did them. I never felt I had the right to damage other people's property because I was bored. These kids need to leave their excuses behind and man up.
Doug May 31, 2011 at 03:58 PM
I've enjoyed the tagging comments, but what about this part: "Epps faces felony charges of possessing narcotics for sale, maintaining a place for drug sales and furnishing narcotics to a minor." ??? This isn't just another bored kid who sprayed some paint on a wall, these are felony charges.
Doug May 31, 2011 at 03:59 PM
I've enjoyed the tagging comments, but what about this part: "Epps faces felony charges of possessing narcotics for sale, maintaining a place for drug sales and furnishing narcotics to a minor." ??? This isn't just another bored kid who sprayed some paint on a wall, these are felony charges.
george June 06, 2011 at 05:42 AM
graffiti is a crime, but so is police brutality. me and my friends were chilling at the park instead of writing graffiti and an officer and his friend slowed down stopped by us and said we fitt the match of a bank robery suspect and we look like gangmembers of a mexican gang, he said if you are part of a for or more group hanging out you are considered a gang member, he then told us very inforcibly to leave the park and my friend said thats bullsh*t, we all started to walk out and immaturely the cop called us a racist slur. he and his partner got very offended when we questioned them to do their job and catch the drug dealeers and rapists and then they got out there batons and ran for us, we ran away and 2 of my friends were hit in the back shoulder and ribs.... this is a story of teenagers wanting to see eachother again because school was out and we wanted to do something instead of face book. i also want to add this community does not have any good programs for teens such as spots for us to hang out at or express our selves, i would love to ask for a spot where there is an art and music center for TEENS. not adults who love paintings of cottages! or little kids who want to look like highschoolers, PLEASE WORK WITH US AND WE WILL DEFINATLY SHOW YOU A DIFFERENT ERA.

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