August 25, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Grosse Pointe Woods teens charged with graffiti accept plea deal

The three teenaged girls harged with vandalism have have accepted plea deals that would commit each to 60 hours of community service, including cleaning graffiti from buildings. (Daniel Mears / The Detroit News)

Detroit — Three Grosse Pointe Woods teenaged girls, charged with vandalizing downtown buildings with spray paint, have accepted plea deals that would commit each to 60 hours of community service, including cleaning graffiti from buildings.

In exchange for their community service, their criminal records could be expunged next year.

The teens were also ordered to pay a total of $2,000 in restitution for damage to the buildings along with court fees for their diversionary programs.

The deal was reached Monday morning in the courtroom of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas. The girls’ parents were in the courtroom when the plea deal was announced.

Defendants Isabella Mary Meteer, 18, and Mackenzie Lynn Snitgen and Mary Elizabeth Harder, both 17, spray painted their names and obscenities on downtown buildings.

Each had been charged with one count of malicious destruction of a building costing $1,000 to $20,000 — a felony that carries a five-year maximum penalty. They have been free on $5,000 personal bonds.

Authorities say Meteer, Snitgen and Harder defaced two buildings in the 40 block of Michigan Avenue and the 1100 block of Griswold in Detroit on June 22.

Downtown developer Dan Gilbert, who owns 1001 Woodward, which shares an alley with one of the buildings, sent out an email asking for help in finding the teens, whom he referred to as "degenerates" and "clowns."

Within hours of Gilbert’s appeal, investigators found surveillance video footage of the perpetrators tagging the building.

Thomas told the teens “I hope this experience has taught you to respect not only the property of others but also the community of others.”

Snitgen’s attorney, David Draper, said his client has already been involved in a community project through the “Summer in the City” program where she is involved in spruce-up projects.

Draper said the plea deal had a positive outcome by allowing the teens to put the matter behind them.

“It’s the best outcome for everyone involved in the situation, which was an unfortunate situation,” said Draper Monday. “It allows them to do community service and give back to the city, which I think is a win-win.”

Harder’s attorney, Samuel Churikian, said following Monday’s hearing that his client also has “learned a lesson” and that she is a “better person” as a result.

“It’s been a tough road for her in terms of these consequences that she has faced,” said Churikian Monday. “Now she gets to move on with the rest of her life.”

Harder starts college at Western Michigan University today. She has completed some community service removing graffiti and will complete her community service while she is away at college.

Neither the teens nor their families would comment on the case as they left the courthouse Monday.

bwilliams@detnews.com
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