Students face criminal mischief charges

Three Linfield students allegedly graffitied the back of Little Caesars on April 3. AutoZone, Ruby Tuesday and Sears were spray painted also by the students. Sophomore Tyler Gerlach and juniors Jared Klahn and Ryan Reed were arrested for the vandalism April 3. Photo courtesy of Kurtis Williams

Three Linfield students appeared in court April 5 on criminal mischief charges.


Sophomore Tyler Gerlach and juniors Jared Klahn and Ryan Reed were arrested just after 2 a.m. April 3 for spray painting at least four local businesses’ signs around the city and McMinnville High School.

According to a McMinnville Police Department press release, a citizen called in at 2:20 a.m. April 3, and seeing the defendants spray painting in the vicinity of McMinnville High School.

The investigation revealed that establishments such as Little Caesars, AutoZone, Ruby Tuesday and Sears and utility poles and boxes belonging to McMinnville Water and Light were marked as well.

Each student was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, class C felonies; and five counts of second-degree criminal mischief, class A misdemeanors. The three bailed out after paying 10 percent of their $35,000 bail.

At the arraignment hearing, Reed stood before Judge John Collins first. Collins set a preliminary hearing for Reed scheduled for April 26 at 1:45 p.m.

Following Reed, Klahn stood before the judge alongside attorney Michael Finch. Finch argued that Klahn should be conditionally released and have his $3,500 security bond refunded minus court fees.

The three are not permitted to contact each other per the conditions of their bail. However, as Finch argued, Klahn and Gerlach have a class together and a project to finish that requires them to collaborate. The state did not object to Gerlach and Klahn meeting for the project and class purposes.

Klahn is scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing April 26 at 1:45 p.m.

Gerlach told the judge he was in the process of retaining counsel for the coming proceedings. Judge Collins also offered Gerlach and the already departed Reed their security payments back.

Reed, Gerlach and Klahn cannot legally comment on their cases.

Officer Aaron Smith of the McMinnville Police Department said the students are suspects in connection with similar graffiti designs in the area.

“[The other cases] were known to us because of the unique style of graffiti,” Smith said. “There’s a possibility that there are more cases that could be charged to those individuals. Maybe there were some other people involved. We’re still investigating some of those leads.”

Smith estimated that the damage may be around $1,000 but that the amount could change as the investigation yields more graffiti damage.

“It’s taken three hours to clean it,” Ruby Tuesday General Manager Pam Almedia said. “It took two hours to paint over. I don’t know what it said, but I just thought it wasn’t very nice to do.”

Ruby Tuesday is footing the bill for the graffiti removal from its own budget and is seeking restitution in the matter. Little Caesars had the damage power washed off the evening of April 4.

Anyone with information on these cases should contact Sgt. Tim Symons or Smith at 503-434-7307.

According to the March 26 story in the News-Register, this isn’t the first incident of its sort in McMinnville. During the first 23 days of March, there were 28 reports of graffiti vandalism.

Kurtis Williams/For the Review
Kurtis Williams can be reached at

6 Comments on Students face criminal mischief charges

  1. Linfield Student // April 9, 2011 at 10:44 pm //

    As a student, I just want to say that I know three of the students personally. I’m very good friends with one, and know the other two on a basic level.

    Yes, they made a severe mistake. Yes, they do deserve some form of punishment, and they will have to pay for it. They made a huge mistake, and are responsible for their actions.

    With that being said, there has been a lot of bashing going on with these three young men. Let’s not turn the world and community against them. They made a significant mistake, and they should take 100% full responsibility. Regardless, all three of them are really good kids. They are good people, and I am damn proud to be their friends.

    People make bad decisions. I think most people would admit that they’ve made significant mistakes and have taken significant risks throughout their life, and have not had to pay for their choices. How many of you talk on the phone or text when you drive? How many of you pass second-hand smoke to others? If you compare the risk of killing someone because of your multi-tasking when driving, and putting spray paint on a private property, I hope most of us would agree that death is much more worse. Again, I am not suggesting their crime is easy, or not bad. What they did is wrong, and completely illegal.

    I want to be clear, and emphasize that they should not be let off easy, or given easy mercy because they are good people, college students, etc. I want to argue that we should not be bashing these individuals, creating an intense community animosity against them. We have all made serious mistakes in our lives, some more serious than others.

    Yes, they committed a serious crime. It’s dirty, ugly, disrespectful, and damaging to someone else’s own property. Those are serious mistakes. What is the purpose of justice? Although everyone has diverse views on law, and ethics; I think most people would agree in when I say that I think the goal should not be to ruin any one individual’s life, but rather to provide the appropiate means and environment to ensure 1) They accept responsibility/pay dues, 2) They learn from their lesson, 3) They move past this, and are able to contribute back to the community in a meaningful way.

    The goal of justice is not to merely ruin one’s life. Let’s teach them a lesson, provide a learning experience, and facilitate growth and development. Some of the most successful people in the world have also made some of the most failure. Failure is merely an opportunity for own to massively succeed.

  2. Mark Johnson // April 10, 2011 at 11:30 pm //

    This article certainly does not bash anyone. It simply tells the story of what happened, gave a cop’s and manager’s point of view. You did not refer to the article as “bashing them.” Maybe on campus people have strong feelings but this article had not one piece of opinion aside from the manager saying “I just thought it wasn’t very nice to do”.

    You said you’re proud to be their friends, that’s great. But the reason people aren’t so warm toward them is because we don’t want to be associated with this type of stuff. People see now Linfield as the place where those guys did the tagging. The reaction from the community can only be negative. Just as we want to be connected with football’s record of 55 straight winning seasons, tops in the country, we don’t want to be associated with this. Remember the wannabe box bomber last year? Same deal.

  3. Linfield Student // April 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm //

    In response to Mark, I want to clarify that I wasn’t saying that the article was bashing the students. I’m referring to the attitude on campus, and within the community. I can completely understand your point of view. Linfield takes pride on their reputation for academic and athletic excellence. They do not want to be associated with this type of behavior. It is illegal and damaging to our reputation.

    These students are first-time offenders. Their actually really good kids. Just really stupid and bad decisions on their part.

    I’m not advocating to let them off easy, or just give them mercy because their good kids. They need to take responsibility for their actions.

    Let’s create an environment at the college where they can be given an opportunity to redeem themselves, and make a positive difference in the community. Let’s not seek to merely punish them for the sake of punishment.

  4. serves them right // April 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm //

    i understand where your coming from. these kids are definetly stupid for doing this but they dont deserve to be ridiculed and trashed because of it. they will be punished and pay their debts in full, those are the concicuenses of their actions. but those of you who think its ok to spread lies or ostracize them are out of line. if anything you should befriend them and give them positive influences rather then pass judgement. to the 3 that did it… all i have to say is i hope you learned your lesson. if you wanna tag stuff tag YOUR STUFF. dont ruin others property.

  5. Septembre Russell // April 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm //

    I am impressed with the discussion going on about this story.
    That’s it.
    Ok, I’m a little shocked. I thought things would be more barbaric.
    Guess it’s just SOFTBALL that people get super riled about.
    *evil laugh

  6. the guy who wrote this has the nickname of creepy kurtis……nuff said.

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