Friday, July 1, 2011/lk
On a night when most teens were out celebrating a successful end to a high school career with friends and family, four junior boys from HRVHS were allegedly out celebrating the destruction of the property of others.
According to Hood River County Juvenile Probation Officer and Counselor Amy Hicks, three 16-year-old boys and one 15-year-old boy were arrested after allegedly spending the night of June 10 breaking into vehicles, smashing windows and stealing.
Before their arrest on the morning of June 11, the four, whose names are withheld as juveniles, also allegedly poured gasoline onto the front seat of a final victim's vehicle and set it on fire.
Deputy Sergeant Gerry Tiffany took the initial report on the vehicle fire and deputies Brian Rockett and Chris Guertin were the officers involved in the investigation and subsequent arrest of the suspects.
The trail of mayhem and vandalism began with a break-in at the Hood River Valley School District bus barn, where three buses were smashed into and were found later with cut wires. Three fire extinguishers were also stolen from inside the vehicles.
Following a random path around the Odell area, vehicle damage was reported. Broken windows on two Chevy Blazers on AGA Road were reported. Later, in the parking area near Diamond Fruit, all the windows of an Acura were found broken out.
The final vehicle, a Ford Escort, was found vandalized and in flames after gasoline had been poured on the seats and set afire, near a residence along Highway 35.
The morning of June 11, however lead to some clarity in the investigation, according to Hicks.
Working across the street from the vandalized Acura was the vehicle's owner. Sometime close to 8:30 a.m., the victim noticed a young man pull up near his Acura in a pickup truck. He observed the teen get out and pick up a blue mask from the wreckage and prepare to leave.
According to Hicks, the Acura's owner decided to follow the pickup truck, thinking the driver had behaved suspiciously.
After tailing the teen to a residence, the victim called the sheriff's department.
Deputies Guertin and Rockett arrived and questioned the teen, who was later arrested. Possible evidence related to the evening's crimes was seized from the teen's truck.
Following additional investigation, the three other youths were located and arrested.
All were transported and lodged at the NORCOR juvenile facility where stayed until their arraignment on Monday, June 13.
"The saddest thing is that if these boys committed these crimes, they had complete disregard for the property and belongings of others," said Hicks.
The teens have been charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors. Following arraignment, they were placed on conditional release, under the direct supervision of parents or guardians that are court approved.
Each of the four youths were arraigned on the following charges: One count of arson in the first degree (a Class C felony); three counts of criminal mischief in the first degree (a Class C felony); one count of mischief in the second degree (a Class A misdemeanor); four counts of unlawful entry into a motor vehicle (a Class A misdemeanor); one count of theft in the second degree (a Class A misdemeanor); and one count of criminal trespass (a Class C misdemeanor).
Prior to their next court appearance, the teens have been restricted from contact with one another or contacting victims. They may not keep in their possession any objects related to fire starting.
The teens will be appearing in Hood River Circuit Court in front of Judge Paul Crowley on July 18 at 2 p.m., along with their court representatives.