NEWBURY PARK : 10 Youths Arrested in Graffiti Spree

A monthlong investigation into as many as 80 incidents of graffiti vandalism in Newbury Park resulted in the arrest of 10 youths Wednesday, Ventura County sheriff's deputies said.

Sgt. Mike De Los Santos said the Thousand Oaks youths, ranging in age from 12 to 17, were members of a tagger gang that spray-painted their names throughout the community.

"Everything from stop signs to utility boxes. You name it, they tagged it," De Los Santos said. He said none of the taggers had a background of serious crimes.

The graffiti investigation began after the Borchard Park Community Center was vandalized May 5. Police arrested four youths in that incident and traced two of them and eight others to a series of 80 tagging cases in Newbury Park that began in February, 1994.

De Los Santos said the city had spent about $3,500 to clean up the spray paint.

The youths, who attend Sequoia and Redwood intermediate schools and Conejo Valley High School, have been released to their parents. De Los Santos said he expected more arrests in the case.

The city is offering up to $2,000 for information on the identity of any graffiti suspect. Residents can call 494-8200 to report a graffiti crime.

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