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 email@example.com.