You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, May 12, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Ann Arbor graffiti case: Teen violated order, will appear in court Wednesday

By John Counts

Grafitti Gridb.jpg

Examples of various SAES and Mole tags from across Ann Arbor.

Melanie Maxwell |

The 15-year-old Community High School student accused of spray painting his moniker SAES all over Ann Arbor violated a court order three days after he was placed under house arrest and is now being held at the Washtenaw County Youth Home, court records indicate.

He is scheduled to next appear in the Washtenaw County juvenile court Wednesday.

While under house arrest, the boy was still allowed to go to school. On April 29, he was not in class when he was supposed to be, according to court records. The court order came down April 26.

The GPS on his tether showed that "he was in a different place than he was reported by his parents to be," according to the records.

"His whereabouts were unknown," was written on the order remanding him into custody.

He was held in the youth home until May 3, when he was brought to a court hearing where the referee decided the teen should remain at the detention center. At that time, the referee set a hearing date for May 15.

The 16-year-old Pioneer student accused of being behind the graffiti tag "Mole" is scheduled to appear in court Monday. He is charged with 11 counts of various destruction of property charges.

The 15-year-old faces 16 counts. Police said the boys are friends. Mole and SAES graffiti tags can be seen on dozens of buildings, overpasses, light poles and other locations around Ann Arbor.

Police filed petitions for the two boys in April after linking them to the graffiti. A juvenile court referee subsequently put both of them on house arrest and nighttime surveillance as their criminal cases went through the judicial system. Both boys were fitted with tethers.

Police also continue to investigate the graffiti painted at the Artrain site on North Main Street earlier this month.

Six rail cars at the Artrain site along North Main Street were vandalized between 1:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on April 13 causing approximately $60,000 in damage. The vandals tagged the cars with "Clams," "Raw" and "Hash."

Crime Stoppers is still offering a $1,000 reward for information regarding graffiti and vandalism at the Artrain site. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).



Tue, May 14, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

The graffiti artist saes is actually incredibly artistic and bright. Tags are not meant to be necessarily a reflection of their art, thats what pieces are for. You cannot paint a piece on a building downtown easily. Tags are meant to be destructive, I'm not saying that its ok to be destructive. I know it costs money and is bad for our town. However his tags are no worse than any others. It is ok to express your feelings about him painting our town, but you DO NOT know him. To judge him like this is pretty lame. He's a kid, he's facing the penalties. Having the rest of his future in jeopardy isn't enough of a punishment for a kid who obviously hasn't been taught much better? Really?


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Well put. IMHO you are correct on many points BUT... He CHOSE to make himself known to the community by engaging in hundreds of acts of vandalism, spreading his name/moniker, as a representation of HIMSELF. It is only right that the community judge him by is greatest most obvious acts IN the community.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 8:09 a.m.

Suggestion; If you see SAES tagged somewhere, take a picture of it and email it to the judge/prosecutor with an attachment on the location. Hey, could we have the name of the judge and/or prosecutor?


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 10:50 p.m.

Start by making him clean off every single one of his tags. Then add some additional community service at every one of the locations he tagged. A hefty fine would also make sense. If he's skipping class at Community already, he should lose his spot, as he obviously does not appreciate it. The school should give his spot to someone who has been waiting for a slot to open up.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

Damaging property costs money. This kid needs to be an example. If you can't fix it, then a long-term jail sentence is in your future.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

Hopefully these vandals will be recognized as exactly that. Nothing cute, creative or foreshadowing a wonderful career as painters or artists. However watch and see if there aren't some public school employees who will attempt to rescue them with glowing reports of their creativity and worthiness. This would not be accurate in the least, but that may not matter to the enablers of perpetrators like this. "They're just kids". Right, kids that should have known better. Did their parents know what kind of hobbies their children were engaged in? Just asking.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

If it walks like a vandal, quacks like a's a tagger!


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

If people blame AADL for glorifying graffiti art, wouldn't it stand to reason that everyone in this town would have a library card & read books? Just a thought.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

As a former Community High School grad of 2012, I am very shocked to hear this type of news about a CHS student spray painting to deface property by vandalism. I know that Community High teaches student to respect other people's property due to being part of Downtown Ann Arbor/Kerrytown's community. It is not the school but it was the person who did the graffiti and I know that Community High School DOES NOT condemn these actions. It is not what my school is about and I this is not it! Community made me who I am today and made me a responsible adult because they treat us like adults through calling teachers by their first name, an open campus policy, not having restrictions such as hall passes to go to restroom, office, counseling, etc because they really trust their students .

John of Saline

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

The one time I was inside Community (over twenty years ago), it was dirty and everything seemed covered in writing, etc. Maybe that's changed in the last two decades?


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

singingweatherman: I think you mean "Community High School DOES NOT condone these actions." Regardless, I don't think anyone would hold CHS responsible for the misdeeds of one of it's students.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

then perhaps the school Should Condemn these actions.....


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

He should just be taught to tag better. Seriously his graffiti is not as bad as some of the public art works in Ann Arbor.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

Kid has decided rules do not apply to him. Unless this is fixed, he will be in contact with the correctional system for much of his life. Spoiling kids rotten does have results.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

i bet he is a happy as can be since this newspaper published all of his work on line for all to see.. bad move, sensationalize the kid

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Sure, not intended. But still accomplished, and knowingly. But you don't care, we know that.

Kyle Mattson

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

No sensationalization intended Stan, as you'll notice by the other comments these tags were/are found all over the city and would be hard to miss by anyone who has been downtown lately. We compiled the image here to give reference to the scope of the damage done to public and private property as the suspects go through the court process.

The Picker

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

So are all these Tags being preserved as evidence? They are still everywhere 6 months after the fact. If Community Standards was doing their job, this eyesore would be over for the majority of us. Maybe its time to eliminate this waste of a department (Community Standards) and let the Police enforce the code.They appear quite inaffiective in their duty and redundant in their mission. As for this honor student , lets set up the stocks in the Farmers Mkt. where he and any others will spend Saturdays, being brushed with paint by any passerby for the next year.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

He needs to clean up ALL his mess. He stays at Juvenile Detention until it is all done, and gets the equivalent of work release to clean. As much as possible, the locations of all of it should be documented now, so that some imposter doesn't add more and blame him. If it is possible with these offenses, there should be some mechanism that the case gets designated to adult court if it does not get done. I don't want to pay to house this kid for some long period of time. I want my city cleaned up. If the court does order a cleaning, would he need supervision? Would it be his allegedly lying parents or court staff? How much would that cost?


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

Another thought... I believe there is a law where a store can't sell spray paint to anyone under 18. Certainly that would be hard to enforce, but wouldn't you think that stores would be questioning what kids are doing with the spray paint that they are buying?


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

They didn't have much of a budget for paint! Not even interesting graffiti. They have no talent to channel, they are just destructive.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 9:52 a.m.

Sounds like another irresponsible kid gone astray, he could care less about authority, parental or public. Sure be nice to post his mugshot.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

I find it troubling that the parents felt it ok to provide false information to authorities about his where abouts? Enablers are not helping.

John Counts

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

His parents did not provide false information to authorities. The teen was supposed to be in class at school. To the best of the parents knowledge, that's where he was.

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

To be fair, I don't think the article meant to imply that. Chances are he is not actually reported to be in one place or another, but there's a schedule. It sounds like his house arrest allowed him to be in two places - home, and school. Being Community High School there are no busses (I think), so he was probably dropped there by a parent. If he ran out the back door after he was dropped off, it was likely without anybody's knowledge.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

Make him write his tag a trillion times into some kind of electronic signature device once each second. Would it be cruel or unusual if he was shocked each second he was not tagging into the device?


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

what is wrong with you people, find something else to do with your time than mock and insult a 15 year old. Do you think this kid hasn't been through enough.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:13 a.m.

Let's hope somebody drops a dime on CLAMS to collect that grand, that tag is super ugly.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:07 a.m.

Having followed the Kwame trial with interest, I see parallels in this attitude toward authority. Given time and a good, crafty (taxpayer paid?) defense they'll both do lot's of time. Just be patient...

John of Saline

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Kwame cost us all a LOT before conviction, and will continue to cost us all long into the future.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

You lost me at Kwame.... but I love the creativity.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

Man, what's with so many of you wanting violent retribution? I'm not saying this kid (*cough* and his parents *cough*) doesn't deserve some tangible punishment, but seriously, let's leave the Singapore stuff back in Singapore, please.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:42 a.m.

One often reaches a fork in the road. One way is well paved and smooth. The other is bumpy and full of pot holes. It appears this kid is choosing the latter. Some never learn.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

Annnnnd someone tagged the old UMI property. Check it out, its a wonderful eyesore as you exit I94 @ Zeeb. Coincidence?


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

He definitely needs to get kicked out of Community. He does not deserve a place in a selective high school with this kind of behavior. He and his criminal friend should both be headed for Roberto Clemente after serving some serious time in the lock-up and cleaning off the graffiti around the city.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

The GPS on his tether showed that "he was in a different place than he was reported by his parents to be," according to the records. "His whereabouts were unknown," was written on the order remanding him into custody. +++++++ These statements are contradictory. He's in a different place than he was reported by the parents, yet his whereabouts were unknown. Either the officials knew where he was or they didn't. How can you say he was in a "different place" but his whereabouts were unknown? What's the point of a GPS if you don't know where he is?

Xander Flood

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 2:50 a.m.

I believe the tether cannot legally tell authorities where the person is, as that would be considered a breach of privacy. Unless there is evidence that the person is a danger, and a warrant is obtained, it can only verify whether or not he is where he's supposed to be.

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

He was wearing a kryptonite. The tether wasn't able to communicate his position.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

But it says "The GPS on his tether showed that 'he was in a different place' " what place did it show him to be? Is "unknown" a place? Can a tether show someone to not be somewhere, but not show where someone is?

John Counts

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

He was supposed to be in class at school and was not.

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Perhaps he was in a room lined with lead. Then the GPS tether would be able to report his position.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

I disagree. The juvenile probation officer goes to the spot where the parents report him to be. He's not there. He's somewhere else. How is that contradictory?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

He just can't be confined to a classroom!!! whine whine whine He's just releasing his artistic side...blah blah blah Somebody somewhere is making that statement as we speak... Make him clean it up and serve time in juvie hall on weekends. Otherwise he will never learn and it will be a larger bill for tax payers to foot.

Usual Suspect

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Perhaps there are some walls at W. J. Maxy that need some brightening up.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

One word: "restitution" How can that not be fair?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

Scrub brush comes to mind as well.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

This is a question. Are the parents of a juvenile who commits graffiti liable for property damage costs? If so, that would seem to be a powerful deterrent.

Tex Treeder

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

JRW writes "A lot of rich kids end up at Community." How is this even relevant? Just another attack on CHS from someone who thinks Community is elitist because not everyone can get in, I think. I'll note that a lot of "rich kids" end up at Skyline and Huron as well. And where does "Mole" go to school?

Steve Bean

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

If so, it wasn't in these two cases nor the several other mentioned.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

In short, Vivienne, yes. The court will collect victim impact statements itemizing damages, and one of the court orders will be to compensate the victims. The juvenile court has jurisdiction over both the delinquent and the delinquent's parents, and can order the parents to pay. However, this is conditioned on the parent's ability to pay. If the parent doesn't have the funds, and the juvenile can't work to pay it, the court will likely waive the compensation requirement when other court orders have been fulfilled, and close the case. If the parent has the money, the case won't close until the victim is compensated. Until case closure, the parent has to appear at a periodic review hearing with the child to explain progress. For some reason, victims often don't fill out the victim impact statement. If you don't do that, the court can't order compensation.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

A lot of rich kids end up at Community. I doubt their parents paying for damages that would be greatly reduced in the end, would be much of a deterrent. What is needed is incarceration for the juvenile himself in order for him to recognize that there are serious consequences for his criminal behavior.

Dirty Mouth

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

Lip service, blah blah, slap on wrist, blah, blah, too bad our laws no longer have teeth! I hope Community High School kicks him out of school. I say this because many of us were kicked out for far less back in the 90s!

Usual Suspect

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

I hope one result of this is that the kid is put in the custody of the parent who believes in enforcing boundaries and structure in his life, instead of the one who just says "meh" and lets him do whatever he wants.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

Unusual, ignore the haters. you DO have it figured out, all of it!


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

The expert has spoken!

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

That would be different. But that is not the case this time around.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

What if both parents say 'meh'...?

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

Yes, I do.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:40 a.m.

You have it all figured out don't you?

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

I believe the child needs to learn to channel is creative energy into something more productive to society

John of Saline

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Let him dig holes, then fill them up again.

Marc Stephens

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

I would argue that this is not creative energy, but destructive energy. We're not talking colorful works of art like some graffiti, these are simple, ugly tags sprayed around like a dog sprays to mark its territory.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

Exactly how much "creative energy" does it take to spray paint letters on something? Given enough time, a monkey could be probably trained to do it.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

I've seen no demonstration of even the smallest amount of creativity. That's the thing. He's simply a vandal.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

Simple tagging is far from a "creative" endeavor.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:36 a.m.

He needs to learn a lot more than that, Martha.

Ellis Sams

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

Yes. And his creative energy should be directed toward removing his "art" from all the places he tagged.

David Cahill

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

Glad he's being held in detention. He'll probably remain there at least until his trial/plea, and probably until his disposition (sentencing).

Tom Joad

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

Why showcase their handiwork with a photo spread? Their work is painted all over town for anyone to see. The current anti-graffiti laws have no teeth, especially with juvenile offenders; that much is obvious.

Kyle Mattson

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

We welcome feedback USus, but keep it focused on one topic at a time.

Usual Suspect

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

Just deleting the criticism tells us a lot. Foremost being the customer is always wrong.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

jcj, I haven't seen the graffiti. Even though I don't live in Ann Arbor, I DO care.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

If there is anyone that hasn't seen them, they don't live in this town and would not care.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:36 a.m.

Agree that the tags should not receive free PR from the media. It encourages other miscreants.

John Counts

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

I understand your argument, but what the graffiti looks like tells part of the story. Even though the tags are very prolific all over town, not every single reader who comes to this story will have seen them.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:33 p.m.

Could not agree more! WHY give this person the photo spread? Care to answer John?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 7:09 p.m.

As a downtown resident I can state with authority that while he faces 16 counts of vandalism, his tag is literally all over downtown Ann Arbor, I would estimate hundreds if not thousands of instances. Please throw the book at him, judge! Community service removing an equivalent amount of graffiti would be a good start! By holding him accountable with some hard labor perhaps he will gain some wisdom and change the current disastrous course he is on and if he resolves to get on a positive course ultimately contribute to society in some positive way. It will also be a good demonstration for the other juvenile delinquents vandalizing our town everywhere you look.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Forcing him to clean up downtown might put city union jobs at risk! The city union won't like that haha


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Why limit it to cleaning graffiti? I bet there are A LOT of unpleasant things downtown he could be required to clean up.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

He should serve a 3-year cleanup term equivalent to a part-time job wherein he has to clean up any graffiti whether it was his or not. Then he can get a taste of what it's like to have to clean up after someone else's mess too, like the people who surely had to clean up some of his.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

I agree that downtown is literally covered with vandalism graffiti and unless these punks serves some serious time in the lock up, their behavior won't change. In addition, graffiti needs to stop being glorified by AADL contests, etc. It is destructive vandalism, and it is a criminal act.

tom swift jr.

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

".....he needs to be incarcerated" Never happen, the cost of incarceration runs somewhere around $50,000 per year, this is paid, mostly, by the county. You can bet that, as they are releasing into the community young people with felony assault convictions, they aren't about to pay that amount for painting a bridge. Folks, get used to the fact that this state has no interest in early intervention, this kid won't get locked up.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

Early intervention? Not sure what you mean by that. Do you think the state should push the parents out of the way and take over parenting the child, and at what point during early intervention should they take over the decision making for the parents. Not saying I don't agree with you, it's the early part of your statement that worries me. I think this is the perfect time, and the detention center is a good start, hopefully he isn't hard headed.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 6:55 p.m.

Here is a student who meets the requirements for Community High and won a slot in the lottery. One of the luckiest children in the state! It is too bad that he is seemingly throwing this wonderful opportunity away. Unfortunately if someone can't reach him and get him moving in the right direction, he may never get to contribute his capabilities to a better future for all of society. I hope someone can reach both of these boys and convince them that they could do way more with their talent in a constructive fashion.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

Does jail have "art therapy"?


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

Somebody already tried reaching one of them. Didn't work. Time for jail.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.



Sun, May 12, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

Since there is such a huge waiting list, one would think violating a court order would cause him to lose his spot. I hope if he is found guilty this would be the case.

Dirty Mouth

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

He's probably doing this because he has difficulty talking to girls.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

Throw the book at him for insolence.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

Funny....if this had been me, my Father would have and still does at the age of 87! I guess we were raised to respect others and their property.


Sun, May 12, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

Clearly this person has no respect for his parents, the judge, other peoples' property and the law. Since he seems unwilling to comply with house arrest, he needs to be incarcerated. Perhaps if he is chraged as a adult and convicted for several felonies he might take these crimes seriously.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

Oh, for Pete's sake. How do you justify charging him as an adult? Kid's not violent and juvie is going to be a rude awakening. I love how people think they know how to handle this better than a judge.

Matt Cooper

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

Not sure I agree with you here, Barzoom. I totally agree that some serious punishment is needed and necessary, but 'several felonies'? Let's not ruin this kids life before it ever even gets started. There's got to be better ways to get him to stop doing this than 'several felonies'.