It all began when deputies received a call from a local witness that reported the alleged crime to authorities. They arrived at the scene at around 6:45 pm on June 13th. After investigating the incident, police learned the suspect, L. Morales, was also on probation at the time.
Deputies arrived at the suspect’s home on Friday, June 18th, where they made the arrest. A search of the suspect’s home turned up items that linked him to the crime, according to authorities. Morales was arrested on suspicion of vandalism and participating in a street gang. His bail was set at $100,000.
Vandalism is covered under California Penal Code 594 PC and is described as maliciously damaging, destroying, or defacing another person’s property. If the damage is valued at less than $400, the crime is charged as a misdemeanor. If the damage to the property is valued at $400 or greater, the crime becomes a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s prior criminal history.
When charged as a misdemeanor, the potential penalties include up to 1 year in county jail, a maximum fine of up to $1,000 (or $5,000 with a prior vandalism conviction), and informal probation.
When charged as a felony, the potential penalties include up to probation with 1 year of county jail, or 16 months to 3 years in jail, a maximum fine of $10,000 (or $50,000 if the damage done was valued at $10,000 or more), and/or probation.
Since the suspect is also being charged with participating in a street gang, an additional penalty may be added if the suspect is convicted of felony vandalism. Anyone charged with a felony in connection with a street gang is typically eligible for a sentence enhancement.