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2 caught defacing pedestrian bridge

A 19-year-old man and a 15-year-old juvenile were caught over the weekend in the act of defacing the pedestrian bridge at Hoyt Lake that spans the Scajaquada Expressway.

The man got away, though police know his identity, and an investigation continues for a third suspect.

At about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, security guards hired by the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy were patrolling Delaware Park, the pedestrian bridge and Japanese Gardens as part of their normal rounds.

That's when they came upon 19-year-old Jesse G. Smith spray-painting graffiti while the juvenile stood watching.

Officers Ruben Vega and Richard S. Cruz ordered them to drop the spray cans and drop to the ground, said Vega, who placed the 15-year-old in handcuffs, while his partner handcuffed Smith.

The officers then noticed three bicycles were nearby, even though they had only two suspects.

Vega asked the whereabouts of the third person and was told he ran down the hill.

Vega went to take a look in the wooded area to try to apprehend the third suspect, leaving Cruz alone with Smith and the boy.

Smith got away and ran from under the bridge while handcuffed behind his back, Vega said.

Buffalo police officers were called to the scene, and the juvenile was arrested and charged with criminal mischief intent to damage property, making graffiti and possession of a graffiti instrument.

City police and Buffalo State police officers helped with the search for Smith, with no success.

An investigation is ongoing, and arrests are pending for Smith and the third suspect, Vega said.


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