Tuesday afternoon, the Westport Police Department (WPD) announced the resolution of a large-scale vandalism case that occurred in the town July 2.
Westport Chief of Police Joseph Talkington said the incident involved sixteen Westport-area buildings spray painted with obscene language.
“We have four defendants,” he said. “All four are male juveniles, and at least two are foster kids.”
Talkington himself conducted a month-long investigation, culminating in the four arrests; he also interviewed all four and characterized all as “extremely cooperative,” and ready to “get this all over with.”
In a press release on the case, the WPD thanked Westport residents for their “continued support and public input, which led to the closure of this case.”
“We won’t release the names of these defendants because of the age,” Talkington added.
According to the release, the four suspects “conspired with one another to go out during the early morning hours and spray paint profanity on numerous structures in the community.”
The case, the release further states, has been turned over to the Decatur County Prosecutor’s Office, where the defendants face a single charge of Criminal Mischief, a class “B” misdemeanor.
Talkington stressed that he’s recommending community service for the four.
“I think that’s appropriate,” he said. “Considering the age of the defendants and the fact that this wasn’t a violent crime and didn’t cause serious harm to anyone.”
He continued, “Plus, residents and community workers spent a lot of time cleaning this up, so I think these four should spend their punishment repaying the community’s effort.”
The chief added that, with defendants as cooperative as the four in this case have been, the long-term prognosis for re-offense is “pretty positive.”
“I believe in second chances and fresh starts,” Talkington said. “I believe in giving these four boys a chance to improve themselves by improving their community; I believe in giving them a chance to redeem their reputations in our community without going to jail. Considering the age and backgrounds of these defendants, I think it’s important.”
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.