While “off duty”, SCP Founder Brian Lutes discovered and interrupted 7 vandals, all of whom were white males appearing to be between the ages of 15 -17, who were in the process of spray painting graffiti on the exterior rear wall of the school’s gymnasium between 7:15 & 7:35 PM on Saturday December 12, 2009.
Lutes was jogging around the rear of the school when he smelled paint fumes and heard voices coming from the roof of the main brick portion of the school nearest the mobile classrooms located at the rear of the facility that borders the Rama Rd. Park.
Upon investigating the circumstances observed, Lutes found several spray paint cans being thrown off of the roof of the school and landing near a tool shed in front of the mobile classrooms.
While Lutes was contacting the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept. via cell phone to report the criminal activity, the vandals exited the roof using a chain-link fence that serves as an enclosure for a garbage dumpster near a “service entrance” directly across from the entrance to the gymnasium.
Once on the ground, the vandals threw a plastic bag containing several spray paint cans against a wooden fence near a short gravel lane leading to the mobile classrooms and walked toward the mobile classrooms where Lutes was located.
Upon seeing Lutes, the teens, in two groups, ran toward the Officer while yelling “He’s calling the cops” making Lutes believe he was going to be attacked. Lutes dropped his cell phone and prepared to take defensive measures.
Three of the teens charged Lutes while the other four “broke-off” and ran through the Park. Lutes was able to fend off the attack by holding one of the teens by the shirt collar with his left hand while warding off the other two with his right hand.
In the scuffle, Lutes and one of the teens fell in a muddy spot near the school’s tool shed allowing the group of vandals to flee through the Park to a car that was parked at the Beckett Ct. entrance to the Park. The vehicle left the scene turning left on to Ashmeade Rd. leaving one of the teens behind who fled the area on foot through the back yards of homes between the school baseball field and Ashmeade Rd.
One of the teens that charged Lutes stood around 6 feet 2 inches, weighed around 150 pounds, was wearing blue jeans, a black hooded sweatshirt and a red ball cap. Another was about 5 feet 10 inches tall with sandy-blond hair in a close “bowl” type cut and he wore blue jeans and a flannel button-down shirt.
The vehicle the teens used to leave the scene appeared to be an older maroon four door similar to a Mercury Topaz.
Two Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officers arrived at the school within about 10 minutes to take Lutes’s report of the incident, survey the graffiti and collect the discarded spray paint cans which were processed for fingerprint evidence. The recovered fingerprints will be processed through the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for possible matches. If any of the vandals has been fingerprinted in relation to criminal activity in the past their identity will be discovered.
Anyone with any information or who may have seen a speeding car leaving the area of Beckett Court & Ashmeade Rd. around 8:00 PM on Saturday December 12, 2009 is asked to call SCP Founder Brian Lutes @ 980-297-8446 or CMPD Officer J.T. Cannon through Crime Stoppers @ 704-334-1600.