5 females arrested in school tagging

first_imgAurora Trejo, 21, of Newhall and Alejandra Hernandez, 21, of Canyon Country were arrested on suspicion of possessing a weapon on school grounds, vandalism, conspiracy to commit a gang-related felony and participating in a criminal street gang. Both are being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Santa Clarita jail. The crew includes three minors, who are being held at Sylmar Juvenile Hall. One girl, 17, from Canyon Country and two others from Newhall, 13 and 16, face the same charges as the adults. Authorities said they think Trejo, who also faces charges of driving without a license, was the driver of the crew’s car. Officials did not say which schools the girls attend. Godinez said the women and girls admitted to taking the knives for protection. “It appears they wanted to let the other rivals or potential rivals know they’re out there,” he said, noting gang members typically want others to know they’re in an area or control the area. Godinez said he is not aware of female gangs at Canyon, but the suspected gang members may have been trying to warn individual females at Canyon, he said. Sheriff’s deputies arrested about 75 taggers in 2006 and say the majority of tagging in Santa Clarita is attributed to tagging crews, not gangs. The vandalism has increased steadily during the past two years. However, Godinez said the suspects appear to be affiliated with gang members, not just tagging. The deputy’s report shows the crew also vandalized Golden Valley High School, but, through the district spokeswoman, the school’s principal said the school was not vandalized this weekend. Maintenance workers remove graffiti vandalism at campuses in the William S. Hart Union High School District unless it’s too massive, in which case schools request help from the district office. No such help was sought in this case, district spokeswoman Pat Willett said. Willett said the Hart district does not track graffiti incidences or tally the cost to remove it. However, Carle Manley, the district’s director of maintenance and operations, said removal costs both in man hours and materials is astronomical. Workers power washed the walls Tuesday morning as students returned to classes after the Memorial Day holiday. Summer recess for schools in the Hart district begins June6. Overall, graffiti removal cost the city of Santa Clarita half a million dollars last year, and with the proliferation of tagging investigators predict costs will rise in 2007. The city’s graffiti hotline receives about 500 calls a month. The city says it generally costs $400 to $1,000 to remove each instance of graffiti. In 2004, there were 1,200 instances of graffiti on public property in town; in 2005, there were 2,500; and in 2006, more than 5,000. The city says no one community claims the lion’s share of damage, and its cleanup crews are dispersed about town. Los Angeles County has lowered the bar on felony convictions for graffiti vandalism from $5,000 to $1,000 in damages, and in Santa Clarita causing damage in excess of $400 is considered a felony.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – Two women and three girls from the Santa Clarita Valley who claim membership in a Los Angeles street gang have been arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism this week after a tagging spree at Canyon High School, authorities said. A sheriff’s deputy on patrol arrested the group about 11p.m. Monday after reportedly watching one woman tag a wall at the school, authorities said. “It is unusual for female gang members to do tagging and putting the gang name up in graffiti in Santa Clarita,” said Detective Max Godinez, of the Career Offender Burglary Robbery Apprehension team, which investigates youth crimes. “This appears to be one of the first times they have gone out in a group to do that.” Deputies recovered cans of spray paint and three knives during a search of the suspects’ car, officials said. The suspects are due to appear in court for arraignment today, Godinez said. last_img read more