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Vandal Who Caused $10,000 Worth of Damage Serves Probation

He pleaded guilty and will have to pay back some of the money.

A man who caused $10,000 worth of damage in a graffiti spree was sentenced to 36 months of probation.

He will also spend 166 days in a work release program and pay more than $5,000 to the court, according to records.

Michael Claude Epps, 20, pleaded guilty on April 29 to felony vandalism and giving marijuana to a minor, according to court records.

He was arrested with two other people: Casey James Reilly, 18, and another person whose name was withheld because he was younger than 18 years.

Files were not charged for Reilly, according to the district attorney’s office.

Epps was arrested on April 20 on suspicion of committing about 90 acts of vandalism in Temecula, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Vance Stolte.

The arrest came after a several-week-long investigation into tagging in the city. Clues led investigators to get search warrants for the suspects’ homes, which led to the arrest, the sergeant said.

The anti-graffiti operation was paid for by a grant from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance.

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

TVOR June 17, 2011 at 04:29 AM
I think they should have specifically assigned him to go out and clean up his knuckleheaded buddys' graffiti. If he wants to paint let him paint our bridges back to a solid color.
Nasus June 17, 2011 at 03:08 PM
I agree. Let him be responsible for his actions. If the city has already cleaned up his mess, let him spend a few years cleaning up similar messes. What does probation do to deter future crime? Probation simply employs yet another county employee we can't afford.
Jason Schutz June 17, 2011 at 06:03 PM
I agree with both TVOR & Nasus. He is going to be doing a 156 days of work release program why not make make him an expert in graffity removal along with the other vandals and spend the 300k Temecula is now spending on something better.
KJO June 18, 2011 at 05:56 PM
The kid needs to start with the Graffiti in his mouth. Accountability? He has no sense of Remorse about what he's done nor does he care. He needs to be sent to Death Valley to dig holes in the dead heat of summer. C'mon, look at that ridiculous smile he has on his face,,,YEAH his mother must be proud
tifeni June 20, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Kids these days have no RESPECT....their families won't teach them respect cause they don't know the meaning of the word either....that leaves the rest of us to teach them....it is a certainty . that we won't do it either. it isn't politically correct soooo he gets off with a little fine and a good laugh at us...but let one of us do it and we go to jail and pay the full amount back and suffer the embarrassment that HE SHOULD FEEL.. JUSTICE HA HA HA
LBV Collins June 20, 2011 at 04:51 AM
While I agree that these kids have no respect for other’s property, tifeni, I think it’s a big leap on your part to assume that their families didn’t raise them properly. In my experience, parents DO teach their kids respect. So do teachers and coaches, as well as extended family such as grandparents, aunts and uncles. Most likely, a whole host of people touched the lives of these young men from time to time, teaching them right from wrong and respect for oneself and for others… including others’ property. I seriously doubt their lives were totally void of these life lessons. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. I suspect they knew that what they were doing was wrong, but chose to do so anyway. Blame these young men for their acts, but don’t automatically assume “…their families won't teach them respect cause they don't know the meaning of the word either.” I believe the sentence is appropriate. Spending half a year in a work release program is not going to be fun. And paying a fine of more than $5,000 is not cheap. Even if you’re earning a good living, $5,000 is a painful amount to be forced to pay. Hopefully this experience will alter their behavior.
Sunni Johnson June 20, 2011 at 06:31 PM
I also think the justice prescribed is lacking punishment for the cost to the public tax payer. I believe it would better serve the public if the convicted person had to repair the equivalent number of tagging irradiation. In addition a required public service to speak against tagging to kids in school.
tifeni June 21, 2011 at 06:13 AM
LBV Collins, I can respect your opinion, however, I work with children of various ages all day...some at risk, some from wealth, some from poverty....the majority of kids (girls & boys) 4 thru 18 have NOT been taught respect and their parents are just as disrespectful as the kids....you may wish to champion the underdog here, but perhaps if you volunteer to work with some kids on a daily basis you will see this generation of kids really do not respect anything, they are little clones of their parent and parent's attitudes in general..Of course there are always exceptions.
LBV Collins June 24, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Tifeni, I’m not challenging your experiences, but I am challenging your conclusions which are anecdotal. The potential problem with anecdotal experiences is that they are inherently biased… and may be wrong. Before making blanket statements that, “Kids these days have no RESPECT....” please find some unbiased research that supports your position. Otherwise, if your anecdotal experiences have caused you to draw the wrong conclusion, then you are painting an inaccurate picture of today’s kids and their parents.
Duh September 25, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Well, in this case tifeni is right on the money. I lived across the street from Michael Epps for many years and watched him grow up. He is a drug user/seller, a thief and just an all-around bad person - and it IS, at least partially, because of his parents. His mother, Linda, is a PSYCHO - always screaming at the top of her lungs. Dad, Claude, is a truck driver and not always home. When he is, he allegedly is involved in in the drug activity. There seemed to be cops in front of the Epps house at least monthly, for one reason or another. The kid needs to be locked up.
graffiti writer October 18, 2012 at 09:14 PM
graffiti is everywhere, no matter the city, or the background a child was raised in. the sad part is i guarantee the only thing he was 'Maliciously defacing" were things the usual public could give 2 shits about. example, (trashcans, poles, under bridges) etc. people in this snobby city only step up to say something as if they pay for the poles and other crap he "vandalized". making a gray wall look somewhat interesting in a place no usual citizen would step foot in. do you take your children under bridges? hhaha didn't think so, maybe if the city wasn't so quick to paint over our 'yards" we wouldn't be out destroying your dumpsters you worked so hard to provide. seriously, i know the whole "tagging on my property " thing is fucked up. but in reality your comparing graffiti writers, to kids who get drunk and wanna go paint retarted slogans on your neighbor's fences. theres a difference people, going under the freeway to paint a lone wall, and tagging a swastika on your garage is not merely close to the same thing. and he gave marijuana, a fucking plant, to a "minor". someone whom he was probably very close with, maybe 17 and turned 18 in a month, i know more parents than kids that smoke weed. so quit pointing all the fingers toward him, he knows what he did. boo fucking too, go get high and love life. quit picking out kids differences to make yourself feel better about your sorry little pathetic perfect lives.
On the right side October 18, 2012 at 09:36 PM
LBV your head is in the clouds. Look around you. People everywhere show little or NO respect to others around them. It's not just kids. You have to know what respect for others and their property is before you can teach it. "Unbiased Research" is not required!!! Open your eyes. Like mentioned earlier, there are exceptions. In this particular case, the parents have FAILED and they should be held accountable for what they have released on society.

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