Tagging teen to pay for damage

By Michele Hunter

A Tauranga teenager who went on a $6000 tagging spree across the city has been sentenced to three months' community detention and must also pay the clean-up bill.
Strat Mikaia Henderson, 17, who pleaded guilty to 22 charges of wilful damage and one charge each of burglary and receiving a stolen cellphone, was sentenced to six months' supervision and 140 hours' community work in Tauranga District Court yesterday.
Between July and November last year Henderson walked around Greerton, Hairini, Poike and Maungatapu carrying spray cans and marker pens and defaced fences, walls, shopfronts and roundabouts.
Police say Henderson, a first-time offender before the courts, had belonged to a tagging crew.
The cost of removing the damage cost ratepayers $6050.
The burglary charge related to Henderson keeping watch during a burglary at a Greerton home on October 12 while an X-box and PlayStations were taken by his two friends.
The same day Henderson received a stolen cellphone, removed the sim card and broke it into pieces.
Judge Louis Bidois said because Henderson was a first-timer before the courts, had taken some positive steps to re-direct his life with his parents' help and was willing to make amends, he was prepared to impose community detention, supervision and community work.
Judge Bidois also ordered Henderson to begin paying back reparation at $10 a week but told him if he got a job that rate would be reviewed.
Officer-in-charge Constable Matt Valentine said Henderson's apprehension was due to an inter-agency approach with police and council sharing intelligence to identify culprits.
Tauranga City Council's graffiti coordinator Jane Denton police, council and the community working together was also helping to reduce the number of tagging incidents and improve apprehension rates.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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