Graffiti tagger SAES admits responsibility on 28 vandalism charges
The graffiti tagger known as SAES admitted Wednesday to vandalizing 28 different locations in Washtenaw County during a from November to May.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The 15-year-old accepted a plea deal that will result in all but three counts being erased from his criminal record should he successfully complete probation, including paying restitution. The amount of restitution has yet to be determined.
The other three counts will be expunged from his criminal record after five years, said Lynn D’Orio, his attorney.
D’Orio said SAES, who is not being named because he is a juvenile, accepted responsibility for his actions and intends to pay all of the restitution he’ll be assigned.
“He has hammers over his head, and I believe he will be successful,” D’Orio said after court on Wednesday.
The teen pleaded responsible to six charges of malicious destruction of property between $200 and $1,000; six charges of malicious destruction of a building between $1,000 and $20,000; four charges of malicious destruction of a building between $200 and $1,000; four charges of malicious destruction of personal property worth between $200 and $1,000; four charges of malicious destruction of a building causing less than $200 in damages and four charges of malicious destruction of property worth between $1,000 and $20,000.
If the teen successfully completes probation and pays all the restitution he owes, all but a charge of malicious destruction of a building between $200 and $1,000, malicious destruction of a building worth between $1,000 and $20,000 and malicious destruction of personal property worth between $1,000 and $20,000 will be dismissed.
Each charge represents a different place in Washtenaw County that was vandalized, often by the spray painted “SAES” tag. New reports are still being filed, but the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to not file petitions against SAES in those cases. However, he will still be responsible for the restitution from those cases.
Among the locations vandalized by SAES are several restaurants, including Rush Street, Northside Grille, Kuroshio, Bell’s Pizza, No Thai and Banditos. He also was accused of vandalizing five locations on the University of Michigan’s campus, Crazy Wisdom bookstore, Fingerle Lumber, an Ann Arbor Public Schools building, rail cars, Republic Parking garages, recreation equipment belonging to the city of Ann Arbor and a historical glass marker owned by the city.
In most of the cases, he admitted to spray painting his moniker on various buildings. SAES also admitted to carving his moniker into windows and the glass historical marker, and using a paint marker to put his moniker on street signs, elevators and other locations.
When asked by Referee Gail Altenburg if he had permission to vandalize those places, SAES said, “No, not at all.”
Detective Robin Larson led the extensive Ann Arbor Police Department investigation into SAES’ vandalism. Much of the police investigation was spent gathering the damage estimates from the businesses that were hit by SAES.
One other teenager was also charged with vandalism related to graffiti around Ann Arbor. The graffiti tagger MOLE pleaded responsible to 11 charges earlier this month and must pay more than $13,500 in restitution.
A disposition hearing, at which the amount of restitution and time on probation is expected to be announced, will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 8 in front of Altenburg.
SAES will remain on house arrest until the disposition hearing, despite D’Orio’s request that he be let off of house arrest in order to get working so he could raise funds to pay the restitution.
“This would allow him to get the ball rolling,” she said, adding “I want him to hit the ground running.”
Altenburg did rule that SAES would be able to leave home for work, community service and his participation in W-A-Y Washtenaw, a mostly-online alternative school through the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.