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Teen's Parents Make Him Turn Self In After Tagging Buildings in Newport, Covington

A young man spotted on surveillance cameras "tagging" buildings in Newport and Covington turned himself in to Newport Police on Friday morning.

His parents saw his face on the news and brought him to the station.

The boy, 17, is not legally an adult, so his identity was not released.

"He didn't offer an explanation and he really didn't talk much," said Newport Police Lt. Chris Fangman.

The boy spoke with detectives from Covington and Newport so that they could see if any of the property owners who suffered damages would want to file charges.

"We spoke to one of the business people where (the boy) did it and (the business owner) was all for just having him fix it, instead of having him go through the court stuff" Fangman said.

That's a conclusion that Fangman and the police department embrace. "It happens more than you think. Anytime we can have an informal agreement between two parties that they are both happy with and not have them go into courtroom, it's optimal," he said. "It makes everybody happy and it's closure for both parties."

But that doesn't mean that cops don't take graffiti issues seriously, Fangman said.

"Any urban area is going to have some graffiti. We do not have a huge graffiti issue by any means, but it is annoying and people don't appreciate it," Fangman said. 

Newport has a city ordinance on the books that offers a modest reward for those who offer information that leads to the arrest of someone creating graffiti or criminal mischief. Fangman believes that reward is somewhere in the ballpark of $25. The main concern with graffiti is that it could be connected to gang activity. "It is something we'll obviously aggressively try to put an end to."

Gang activity was not the case here with the boy whose parents forced him to return to Newport from their home in Cincinnati to turn himself in.

There is no $25 reward being handed out in this case, but perhaps a strong, stern lesson for the budding street artist who defaced local properties and will now spend time cleaning them - while avoiding a more serious punishment.

"Anytime the people are happy and satisfied," Fangman said, "it's a win-win for everybody."

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher