Graffiti suspects have art to prove it

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – A group of graffiti happy youths, and a pair of adults, have been charged with criminal damage to property after being caught with spray paint on their hands by the St. John Sheriff’s Office, said a spokesman for the department.

The most recent incident occurred last Tuesday at the Winn Dixie Supermarket, located at 1830 W. Airline Hwy. in LaPlace. Maj. Mike Tregre, public information officer for the St. John Sheriff’s Office, said a passing motorists witnessed three juveniles spray-painting on the side of the store around 3:30 p.m. that day.

Tregre said officers responding to the scene located two of the juveniles walking along Sinclair Loop, just behind the supermarket. He said the boys, both 12-years-old, were still in possession of a spray paint can, and also had paint residue on their hands.

(See GRAFFITI, page 2A)

The boys confessed to the crime and were taken into custody. The third member of the group, a 13-year-old juvenile, was also identified, and arrested later that day. All three boys were later released into the custody of their parents, and have pending court dates.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, Tregre said deputies have arrested two LaPlace teens for the petty vandalism of an assortment of businesses across the LaPlace area.

Tregre said Nathan Durapau, 17, 321 Arlington Dr., and Anthony Pirini, 18, 105 Oak Shadow Ct., were taken into custody on May 21 after an anonymous caller witnessed the teens vandalizing the gazebo and a park bench in Greenwood Park. Tregre said both men were booked into the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace, and charged with criminal damage to property and criminal mischief. Both men were released after posting bond, which was set at $62,500 for Durapau, and $75,000 for Pirini.

According to a Sheriff’s Office report, the witness provided detectives with a license plate number of the vehicle the offenders fled in. The owner of the car, an unidentified female, implicated Durapau and Pirini. Investigating deputies questioned the teens, one of which still had paint on his hands, about the vandalism in the park, as well as other similar acts of graffiti on other businesses in the area. The teens confessed to the crimes, and were arrested.

Tregre said that graffiti in St. John Parish has not been a serious problem, but said the owners of residences or businesses that have been vandalized, should contact the Sheriff’s Office at 985-652-9513.