Three Midland Teens Arrested on Criminal Mischief Charges

by Abby Reed
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - A trio of graffiti vandals have been snagged in Midland.

Police say the teenagers were hitting up buildings, vehicles, even billboards with spray paint.

Now the teens are in jail but police are looking for others who may have helped them do the crime.

From buildings to billboards, graffiti vandals have left their mark.

The word "Dope" plastered across various locations in downtown Midland, and police believe three teens are to blame.

The trio of 17-year-olds got caught, when they started getting careless.

"They started to get a little more visual, a little more daring, and started hitting more areas that were a lot more noticeable," Sergeant Mark Garcia with the Midland Police Department, said.

Garcia says his department devised a plan to help catch the illegal artists.

"A couple of different teams of detectives, and then our Directed Patrol unit, and then started conducting surveillance on the downtown area," Garcia said.

Their undercover surveillance paid off, when they caught their taggers 17-year-old Joshua Valencia, 17-year-old Joshua Martinez and 17-year-old Ruben Rivera.

police say the teens are part of a crew called dope and they leave reminders around town.

"We were able to recover some spray cans, and we were able to recover some other pieces of art, you know, notebooks, stuff like that where they were indeed, doodling and drawing the same stuff that they were graffiting on the walls and places around Midland," Garcia said.

Police estimate the damage left behind by the graffiti, totals more than $1,500 and could even be as high as $5,000.

A high price to pay for art and police say, because Valencia, Martinez and Ruben are charged with criminal mischief - they could pay an even higher price.

"It is a felony, so it is a possibility that they'll be looking at some jail time," Garcia said.

The 17-year-olds remain in jail.

Bond for each teen has been set at $10,000. .

Meantime police say they are still looking for at least two other teens who are members of this "crew" called Dope. They believe they are also responsible for the graffiti.