Halloween is traditionally a time when young people exercise poor judgement and commit acts of vandalism and malicious destruction of property. Some do it as a prank or a joke, others do it with malicious intent. This year, two teens from Burlington were arrested for acts of vandalism to a mosque early in the morning hours after Halloween, according to a Boston Globe news report.
“JJ” and “BB”, both age 18, have been accused of using red spray paint to graffiti the word “USA” over and over on the side of the Islamic Center of Burlington. Evidence of the crime was found by police patrolling the area shortly after 1:45 in the morning. The officers also noted that eggs had been smashed into the side of the mosque.
The teens were charged with destruction of property over $250, under M.G.L. c. 266, s. 127, which involves willfully and maliciously destroying or damaging the building of another, and tagging property, under M.G.L. c. 266, s. 126B, which involves spray painting a building.
If convicted of these charges, the teens face penalties including:
- Up to 10 years in state prison – but not payment of a fine for the destruction of property over $250 offense, or
- Up to two and a half years of imprisonment, plus the payment of a $3,000 dollar fine or three times the value of the damaged property, whichever is greater, for the destruction of property over $250 offense.
- A fine of not more than $1,500 or three times the value of the vandalized property, for the tagging offense.
- Having to pay for the restoration of the building face to remove the spray painted words, for the tagging offense.
- A driver’s license suspension for a period of one year, for the tagging offense.
The Burlington police have also indicated that they will be investigating the case as a hate crime, although the young men do not officially face any hate crime charges at this time. The Middlesex District Attorney, Marian Ryan indicated that, if evidence presents itself during the investigation to support such charges, then those charges may be considered at that time.
This is not the first time that the Islamic Center of Burlington has been struck by this kind of vandalism. In 2013, a similar incident occurred where vandals scribbled the word “USA” repeatedly on the walls of the mosque. No one was ever charged for the 2013 offense.
Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer
Vandalism and destruction of property are some of the most common crimes that young people commit. These young individuals do not exercise their best judgement, and do something that they often immediately regret. If you or a loved one has been accused of vandalism, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.