Recently, Santa Clarita Sheriff Station deputies responded to a call of reported vandalism on the 28000 block of Smyth Drive. Upon their arrival, the victim reported that an act of vandalism may have occurred. A hole was cut in the gas tank and fuel line of the victim’s vehicle through which their gas was stolen.
Deputies searched the surveillance footage of the area and saw a familiar vehicle pull up alongside the victim’s. As deputies viewed the footage, they noticed that not only did the suspect’s vehicle have unique identifying marks, but that the deputies were familiar with them.
Later on, the suspect, J. Lieberman of Saugus was arrested and charged with felony vandalism. He was taken to the SCV Sheriff Station to undergo booking and processing.
California’s vandalism and graffiti laws are covered under California Penal Code 594 PC and are described as maliciously damaging, destroying, or defacing the property of someone else. Vandalism can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case. Misdemeanor vandalism is usually charged when the damage to the property is less than $400. Felony vandalism is often charged when the damage to the property is valued at $400 or greater.
The penalties for misdemeanor vandalism include up to 1 year in county jail, a maximum fine of $1,000 or $5,000 if the defendant has a prior vandalism charge, and/or informal probation. Felony charges bear the potential penalties of up to 1 year in county jail, a max fine of up to $10,000 or $50,000 if the amount of damage was $10,000 or greater, and/or informal probation.
Situations like this are hard to avoid because the suspects in such crimes are generally pretty sneaky. The suspect in this case, for example, was only able to be identified by his vehicle and had he been able to use a different one, he may still be at large. Always try to be careful where you park, and to do so in well-lit areas with high visibility.