Police have arrested three teens in connection with a recent rash of offensive and racist graffiti in the Richland area.
The suspects are Brian Rodgers, 18, of West Richland, and two 17-year-old boys from Richland, Capt. Mike Cobb said. Police did not release the names of the other teens because they are juveniles.
They are allegedly responsible for 37 cases of graffiti in the last few weeks, including recent incidents of swastikas and offensive language tagged in the Uptown Shopping Center, Howard Amon Park, McMurray Park and the Richland skate park.
The graffiti caused an estimated $3,000 to $5,000 in damages. The teens could face felony malicious mischief charges.
Patrol officers and a school resource officer helped break the case open.
A school resource officer at Richland High School notified investigators of a possible link to a former student, Cobb said. Police searched the 17-year-old’s house and found similar graffiti in a bedroom.
“We notified our school resource officers because usually crimes like this are committed by people who are young,” Cobb said. “School resource officers can look for a behavioral link.”
The teen’s family members reportedly have connections to or are involved in a white supremacy movement in Portland, Cobb said.
Rodgers was booked into the Benton County jail and the other teens were booked into a juvenile facility.