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SCHOOL VANDALS CONFESS.

Byline: Mary Schubert Daily News Staff Writer

Five boys from a home for troubled youths have confessed to causing $3,000 in graffiti damage at Mint Canyon Elementary School and will spend the summer cleaning up the campus as restitution.

The youths, ages 13 to 16, admitted to spray-painting walls, windows, doors, handball courts, basketball backboards, tables and other exterior surfaces late June 10 or early June 11, authorities said Friday.

``We have interviewed each of the boys, who have admitted and apologized for their actions,'' said Lt. Tim Peters of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

``For young people, hard work is good for them,'' Peters said. ``Instead of winding through the court system . . . they're realizing there is a penalty for their behavior.''

A maintenance crew used sandblasters to clean the walls, said Principal Dan Levy. More difficult will be getting the paint off plastic shatterproof windows without ruining the surface.

The operators of the home, upon learning of the vandalism, questioned their residents and concluded that the group of teens was responsible.

``They were the ones who discovered it and came to us,'' Levy said.

``He's always said (that) if you do the crime, you pay the penalty for it,'' Levy said of the youth home director. ``He really wanted them to work this off, to make them see how much a problem it caused.''

A motive for the vandalism hasn't been determined, but Levy said none of the boys ever had attended Mint Canyon, where the enrollment of only 370 makes it the smallest in the Sulphur Springs School District.

The teens will make restitution by clearing brush from the surrounding hillsides, painting ramps and walls, pulling weeds and otherwise beautifying the school.

``On an ongoing basis, we'd like them to take care of some flower beds in front of the school, so they'll have a vested interest in (the school) looking good,'' Levy said.

Levy said the number of hours the boys will have to work, and the date for the work to begin, still is being negotiated. ``We wanted them to understand how difficult they made life for everyone else.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 20, 1998
Words:355
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