Two teenagers were responsible for “tagging” a Campbellton business last year.
The pair is also believed to have spray painted stylized letters on many other city buildings and objects, but that came to an end Jan. 21, 2013.
The week before, Campbell River RCMP were called to the Esso/McDonald’s in Campbellton after the bathroom had been tagged with spray paint.
Mounties noticed the same initials found in several other places around the city, but still had no suspects.
A week later, on Jan. 21, they were back at the Campbellton gas station to investigate a second tagging incident in the same bathroom.
This time though, a female employee at McDonald’s told them the culprit was an employee of the gas station who had confessed to her.
According to Crown prosecutor Bruce Goddard, the girl asked the teen if he had done the tagging and also noticed purple paint all over his hands.
The youth admitted he had done the tagging and also had a purple paint marker on him.
The two youths were subsequently arrested and charged with mischief. One youth was able to avert court, and a criminal record, after attending a restorative justice forum and making amends for his crimes. The other youth, age 17, had a previous youth record for threatening his stepfather and was waiting to appear in court for the tagging mischief when he was arrested last month on suspicion of drug dealing. He was arrested in Robron Park where police seized three baggies containing 7.3 grams of white powder believed to be MDMA or ecstasy.
He’s currently facing a drug charge, but on Monday he was back in court to plead guilty to one count of mischief for tagging the bathroom.
According to Goddard, the youths were among a few active taggers in the city and police were able to identify three different groups.
“It’s fair to say the tags used in the Esso gas station are obvious throughout the community on various objects,” said Goddard.
In this case, he added, rehabilitation is the most important part of the sentencing and asked for one year of probation and $200 retribution for the damage.
Defence lawyer James Hormoth called the Crown’s request “reasonable” and the youth also issued a brief apology.
Judge Roderick Sutton said there’s a big difference between legitimate graffiti art and spray paint tagging, and the latter causes financial harm for the entire community.
The judge added that for every dollar the city spends cleaning up tags, it means money isn’t going to sports and other recreation programs.
“It’s just a waste of money…hopefully you’ll get through this phase,” said Judge Sutton.
He imposed one year of probation on the youth with an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the first four months.
The youth has three months to repay the $200 to his former employer and cannot go to the business during his probation.
As well, he is prevented from carrying any painting materials outside of his residence.