4 Teens Felt Crime Thrill, Police Say
Four teenagers were on an “adrenaline rush” when they allegedly embarked on a five-week vandalism spree and may be responsible for as many as 100 incidents throughout the county, police said.
Orange Police Det. Mark Hensler said Monday that the teens admitted their involvement and said they were motivated by the thrill of the crimes.
“The adrenaline rush is what they pretty much told me,” Hensler said.
Victor Y. Sarvis, 18, from Santa Ana, was released on bail Sunday from the Orange County Jail. He was booked on suspicion of felony vandalism and contributing to the delinquency of minors.
Two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old were booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall on felony vandalism. All four attend Tustin High School.
Although Sarvis drove the car, there did not appear to be a leader of the group.
David Nisson, the attorney for Sarvis and one of the minors, said his clients attend Red Hill Lutheran Church in Tustin and are active in the youth group.
“I think they’re basically good kids that got kind of crazy,” he said.
Paul Sarvis, Victor’s father, said his son was “very concerned and very remorseful, and he has a number of friends at school and at church who are rallying around and helping remind him how dumb a thing he did.”
In the city of Orange alone, police have counted 26 incidents that took place between Friday night and 3:30 a.m. Sunday, when the teenagers were arrested.
Law enforcement officials throughout the county are trying to determine whether vandalism in their cities could be linked to the four teens. Until the arrests, police thought the rash of vandalism was simply a series of unrelated events.
Authorities also are investigating recent acts of vandalism in Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, Dana Point, Aliso Viejo, Anaheim and an unincorporated area near Santa Ana, among others, to see if there is a connection.
The five-week vandalism spree in Orange began with culprits overturning portable toilets and elevated to the uprooting of expensive mailboxes, which were hurled through car and house windows. Some of the vandalism involved rocks and planters used to break windows. Even small cars were tipped over.
“Maybe it was like a drug,” Hensler said. “They had to keep increasing the intensity to get the same thrill of it.”
Hensler said the vandals chose many of their targets because they discovered that cast-iron decorative mail boxes in front of the houses snapped off easily.
Orange police said the vandalism in the city totals about $20,000 in damages. When the damages throughout the county are added, the figure totals about $100,000.
One woman told police that the mail box thrown through her front-room window smashed her collection of Hummel figurines, causing $5,000 worth of damage.
While no one was seriously hurt, there was at least one close call.
An Anaheim woman said a huge rock landed in an empty bed her granddaughter occasionally sleeps in.
“Sometimes you see kids take baseball bats to mailboxes, but just a few, nothing like this,” Hensler said, “especially through car windows and house windows.”
Times staff writer Robert Ourlian contributed to this report.