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Officer arrests 15-year-old for tagging

A 15-year-old boy was arrested Monday night, apparently just minutes after he sprayed graffiti at Tenaya Middle School, according to Sgt. Bob Chapman of the Merced Police Department.

Chapman said Officer Ronald Luker was driving westbound at 8:22 p.m. in the 700 block of West 8th Street when he saw a silhouette moving in the shadows inside the middle school.

Luker made a U-turn and heard what he believed to be a spray can hitting the sidewalk.

As he got out of his patrol vehicle the silhouette jumped the north fenceline heading toward West 8th Street. Luker made contact with this person later identified as the 15-year-old.

Luker escorted the juvenile back onto school grounds where he located a can of black spray paint and saw that two classrooms had been tagged with the same color paint.

Luker had the juvenile lift the long sleeves of his shirt up and discovered that his right hand had fresh black spray paint on it.

Chapman said the boy eventually admitted tagging both classrooms. He was arrested for vandalism and being in possession of graffiti implements and was later turned over to his parents.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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