Teen charged with felony in Amsterdam graffiti

Amsterdam police say teen charged with felony in graffiti incident and a 15-year-old girl are respon

Police have made a rare felony arrest in a graffiti case after a resident spotted a group of teenagers defacing a vehicle Tuesday night.

James Whitehead, 16, of 32 Glen Ave., was arrested around 8:45 p.m. after police said he was spotted on Brookside Avenue by a resident with a three other teenagers making graffiti on the front and side of a box truck parked near Lyon Street.

An officer in an unmarked vehicle responded to the scene and all four teenagers ran south on Brookside Avenue.

According to police, the caller was able to give a good description of the teenagers and three of them were apprehended on Brookside Avenue near Pleasant Avenue. One teen, a 15-year-old male, got away, but police nabbed, an 18-year-old male, a 15-year-old male and Whitehead, who was caught with a large tip white marker.

All three were positively identified by the caller, police said.

The 18-year-old male was not charged, the 15-year-old juvenile was sent to Montgomery County Family Court and Whitehead was charged with felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor counts of making graffiti, endangering the welfare of a child and possession of graffiti instruments.

The 15-year-old male who got away was later identified and will also face charges in Family Court.

Detective Lt. Thomas DiMezza said the felony charge was lodged because the damage to the box truck was considerable.

“It takes a lot more money to repaint a vehicle,” DiMezza said. “You can just throw some paint on a building, but to repaint a car is quite expensive.”

Whitehead and a female juvenile are responsible for a large portion of the graffiti made in the city, DiMezza charged. Both teens were previously arrested for allegedly defacing Sikorski’s Service Station on Prospect Street. He said they also were responsible for graffiti on Locust and Forest avenues. “The female juvenile was doing it all over the place,” DiMezza said. “I’m not sure she’s not still doing it.”

She was released to her mother from Family Court last week.

DiMezza said both the girl and Whitehead have identifiable marks they use to tag various buildings. DiMezza also said the arrest shows the importance of the community’s involvement in catching criminals. DiMezza said the arrests probably would not have occurred if police had not been alerted to the incident in progress by a resident.

“I’ve asked people, if they see something call the police right away,” DiMezza said. “The vigilance of the public is what’s important here.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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