HERMISTON — Police arrested two Morrow County teenagers early Wednesday morning suspected of graffiti in the southwest section of Hermiston.

On Wednesday at about 2:20 a.m., a Hermiston patrol officer was driving in the area of West Juniper Avenue and Southwest Ninth Street when he saw two males in dark clothing crossing the street in front of him. As he approached, he saw graffiti on a fence and the two males started running. The officer could smell fresh paint in the area as he got out of the car.

The officer found the two juvenile males, a 15-year-old from Irrigon and a 16-year-old from Boardman, hiding under a trailer in the 800 block of West Juniper Avenue. They were both taken into custody and charged with felony criminal mischief in the first degree, unlawfully applying graffiti, unlawful possession of graffiti implements and violating curfew. The males were released to their parents, who were also cited for failure to supervise a minor. The two parents cited were Nadia Aguilar and Marina Sanchez.

Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston said there was no direct gang affiliations with the graffiti, which referred to marijuana. He said further investigation revealed that several businesses, homes and pieces of public property had also been vandalized in the southwest part of town, and estimated that clean-up costs would be in the thousands of dollars.

“The corporal did a good job getting out into the neighborhood and being proactive,” Edmiston said. “Our department continues to take the strong stance if a child wants to act in this manner and graffiti is involved, we will take action every single time against the parent(s) or responsible adult(s) as someone other than society should be holding these kids accountable.”

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