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Posted on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Graffiti suspect caught red-handed - literally

By John Counts


A 13-year-old boy caught spray-painting a downtown Ypsilanti business Monday afternoon had the evidence all over him, according to police.

When officers took him into custody, the boy's hands had the same fresh red paint on them that matched the outside wall of a business located in the 100 block of South Washington Street.

One could say he was caught, ahem, red-handed.

Ypsilanti police were called to Washington Street at 2:02 p.m. for reports of a male suspect on a silver scooter spray-painting the business's wall and then running on Middle Drive with a can of paint in his hand, according to a crime summary.

Officers checked the business and also observed fresh red paint on the north side of the building.

The boy could face charges of malicious destruction of property.

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John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 10:21 p.m.

Whoo, he's lucky I'M not his mama!!!("Mister, you think you're in trouble with the law?! You ain't seen nothing yet!")


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Caning is the best way to teach him a lasting life lesson! Remember Michael Hay who spray-painted cars and walls in Singapore?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:58 a.m.

Paying restitution would be good. But he should have to work it off, not have anyone pay it (like parents). Say at minimum wage, he could be scrubbing any and all graffiti in the city. That's what they should all be doing. Clean it up, play pay for paint to repaint the wall after scrubbing. All graffiti "artists" should have to do this. It would keep them busy and get rid of the mess. The graffiti is an eyesore and hurts the community. I don't expect this to happen, just wishful thinking.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 3:26 a.m.

Oh, PattyinYspi, I meant he'd have to earn money that way to pay restitution/fine. Make him clean the mess and have some monetary penalty as well.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

I'm wishing the same. That's the way to make the punishment fit the crime and to teach the kid that there is no action, good or bad, that doesn't come with consequences. Having the parents pay for the graffiti removal teaches these kids exactly nothing. My only disagreement with you is that I don't think the kid should be paid minimum wage or any wage for cleaning up a mess he made.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

Hey kid, ever hear of Earl Scheib?

Eduard Copely

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:15 p.m.

Give him a job building dog parks in Ann Arbor?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:41 p.m.

I'm quite certain this is the kind of story a journalist lives for.

Eduard Copely

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

"Yeah, boi!"

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

Mr Copely, quick question, slightly off-topic: Why is your avatar image shooting itself in the head?

Jaime Magiera

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:59 p.m.

Enroll this young man in art classes!


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Probably just keeping busy so he doesn't get too anxious for school to start.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

As a "child" he will not get any charges that matter in any case. Just wish that those who think "it's just art" would get their property hit. Not likley they would think it is so great then.

Honest Abe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

He is 13. Nothing is going to happen to him. Nothing! Even if charged and convicted, he will get a good scolding and be on his way.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

"Could face a charge"?!?!? Let's just hope they don't release him tho his parent's supervision. That obviously doesn't exist. The degenerate should be scrubbing walls every Saturday for a long time. Just fining his parents isn't going to do the trick, he obviously doesn't respect his community so why would he care about his parent's bailing him out?

Matt Cooper

Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:49 a.m.

If your comment was directed at me, matt, no, the parents are technically not at fault every time a kid does something stupid. This is why we have juvenile courts and don't just send the parents to criminal court every time their kid acts up. Secondly, for argument sake, if the parents are at fault every time a kid does something stupid...were your parents also the same failures you claim this kid's parents are every time you did something stupid? Hmm? And please don't tell me you never did anything stupid when you were a kid. We both know that's not true.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

it actually technically is. I'm hearing defensiveness...are you a failure as a parent yourself? Not only is he a disrespectful vandal, but he's incredibly stupid too...doesn't sound like good parenting to me.

Jaime Magiera

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

Well, as you know, teenagers aren't autonomous, self-thinking individuals until they turn 21 and the Grownup Fairy sprinkles magic dust on them.

Matt Cooper

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

And of course you know him and his parents well enough to critique their supervision skills...right? As if every time a 13 year old kid does something stupid his parent's are at fault. Uh huh. How many stupid things did you do as a 13 year-old?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

If a kid is gonna spray illegal stuff in the middle of the day, I wish he'd at least touch up the road markings. Looks like a lot of them were last painted before he was born.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

Efficient thinking . haha


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

I take it they won't need a DNA match? I also wonder if they saved money on fingerprinting by using the paint on his hands? Of course not if was the quick drying kind.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

Oops, sorry I thought my first post didn't go through.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

There's really no stupid like 13-yr-old stupid, is there? He probably thought he was invisible out there in the middle of the afternoon, covered in red paint. Hilarious. I hope some judge has him scrubbing off his "adventure" till his knuckles are red from hard work, instead of paint.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

Thankfully you are no longer in middle school.

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

After briefly teaching middle-school-age children, I advocate placing them on isolated islands for those years, away from civilization. I include myself in that; I was an annoying middle-schooler.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

I take it they're not going for a DNA match? Oh, and just in case folks, that's a joke.

John of Saline

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

Ha ha.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

Obviously the minimal sentences in other recent cases had absolutely no deterrent effect.

Matt Cooper

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

Yes, Nicholas. That must be it. He must have had his iPhone receiving push notifications from, freep, detnews, nyt. Yep. I'm sure of it.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

: )

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

Your reply is absurd because nobody reads newspapers anymore. I'm sure his PDA informed him of the recent enforcement action via a tweet or similar push technology. Maybe that could be his penalty? Folding and delivering newspapers. Maybe he'd accidently read some of it, and it'd do him some good.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Like a kid who picks the middle of the day, on a weekday, as the perfect time for vandalism was home reading the paper and doing internet research about the potential penalties before he went out.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

The first paragraph says he was caught Monday night, but the 4th paragraph says 2:02 one or the other a mistake?

Julie Baker

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Monday afternoon is correct. We've fixed that.