Noe Valley Voice December 2002 - January 2003

'ROC' Sentenced to 8 Months in Youth Facility

By Kathy Dalle-Molle

"ROC," the 17-year-old graffiti vandal who etched his moniker on storefronts up and down 24th Street this summer, was sentenced on Nov. 5 to spend eight months at Log Cabin Ranch, a La Honda, Calif., rehabilitation facility for male juveniles. He also must pay restitution to the Noe Valley merchants whose storefronts he damaged in a June 19 tagging spree, and his juvenile record will not be sealed until he has paid them in full.

At a hearing on Oct. 22, ROC waived his right to a trial regarding 11 felony counts of vandalism using caustic chemicals filed against him by the San Francisco Police Department. In a plea bargain with the District Attorney's office, he admitted to two of those felony counts--one involving damage to a concourse window at the Glen Park BART Station in June 2001 and the other to an acid-etching incident at Noe Valley Bakery in June 2002.

ROC also admitted damaging two other Noe Valley storefronts this past June--the 24th Street Cheese Company and Panetti's Gifts, both on 24th Street. The charges in those two cases were reduced from felony counts to misdemeanors. The remaining seven felony charges were dropped, along with three misdemeanor charges related to possession of vandalism tools.

By law, ROC could have served a jail sentence of up to 51/2 years for his crimes, and Officer Christopher Putz of the San Francisco Police Department's Graffiti Abatement Program said he had hoped for a stricter sentence than the eight-month stay at Log Cabin Ranch.

"I'm very disappointed with the outcome," he said. "Given the seriousness of the charges this sentence does not send a loud and clear message that we will not tolerate repeat graffiti offenders. ROC will turn 18 soon, though, so when he gets out, hopefully he'll get a job and start making restitution."

Meanwhile, ROC remains in custody in the juvenile jail facility at the Youth Guidance Center in San Francisco, pending his transfer to Log Cabin Ranch.