Foothills Park in Highlands Ranch was tagged by two 18-year-old boys May 18, 2014. A rainbow of color spelled out their angry messages. Sidewalks, swings, and buildings were their target.
Vandals Jordan Rockwell and Andrew Whattam were arrested by the Douglas County Sheriff’s office.
Both were charged with suspicion of criminal mischief. Mr. Whattam posted a $6,000 bond. Mr. Rockwell has a $5,000 bond.
Criminal mischief is committed when a person knowingly damages personal or public property. We have all seen graffiti or “tagging” on dumpsters, fences, buildings and along the highway. But, this time the taggers hit a popular park and playground. Damage to the area is estimated to exceed $5,000.
Taggers are often repeat offenders. They may have a physical addiction to inhalants or be involved in gang related activity. It is a common municipal ordinance violation. It can also become a misdemeanor or felony criminal charge.
Prosecutors must prove that the accused knowingly damaged or destroyed the property. Sentencing guidelines for criminal mischief are:
- Class 2 Misdemeanor (M2) if aggregate damage to property in a single event is less than $500 market value, it carries a jail term of up to 12 months and restitution.
- Class 1 Misdemeanor (M1) if aggregate damage to property in a single event is between $500-$1000 market value it carries a jail term of up to 18 months and restitution.
- Class 4 Felony (F4) if aggregate damage to property in a single event is between $1000-$20,000 market value carries a presumptive sentence of up to 6 years prison and restitution.
- Class 3 Felony (F3) if aggregate damage to property in a single event is between $20,000 or more market value carries a presumptive sentence of up to 12 years prison and restitution.
Both Mr. Rockwell and Mr. Whattam are facing a Class 4 felony in Douglas County, Colorado.