MARATHON — A 15-year-old local boy was issued a juvenile citation last week after deputies say he was caught spray painting graffiti at the Children’s Rotary Park.

Deputy Christopher Aguanno was called to the park at approximately 10:43 a.m. Monday, Jan. 4, after a resident reported a suspicious juvenile loitering there. The caller also stated the park smelled of fresh spray paint. Aguanno arrived and noticed a boy matching the reporting person’s description. Aguanno noticed artwork on the suspect’s backpack was similar to the freshly painted graffiti at the park. The teen admitted to spraying the graffiti, reports say.

A butterfly knife was found in the backpack, and two spray paint cans were located in a tire obstacle in the park, reports say.

The teen’s father responded to the scene and stated the paint cans looked similar to those he had at home, reports say. The boy was released to the custody of his father at the scene.

“I despise graffiti and my staff knows that it is to be eradicated within 24 hours when it is discovered,” Sheriff Rick Ramsay said. “This sort of vandalism leads to more vandalism and it snowballs. It will never be tolerated while I am sheriff, particularly in a park where small children go to play. I hope this is a clear wake-up call for this young man as I will be taking an interest in making sure the conclusion of this case involves him cleaning his community or otherwise working off the debt he now owes his neighbors.”

The Children’s Rotary Park, at the corner of U.S. 1 and 75th Street, is a 3-acre playground built by Marathon’s Rotary Club and volunteer efforts.

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