A Coachella Valley teen pleaded guilty to felony vandalism and a hate crime Monday.
He admitted to spray-painting anti-gay slurs on several homes along Via Escuela in Palms Springs in late June.
The defendant was a 15-year-old Hispanic male who lives just across the street from one of his victims.
He was sentenced to and credited with having served 60 days in juvenile hall.
More arrests could come down the road, according to unidentified source close to the case. But this chapter of the story is closed.
“I’m glad that he was punished,” said Pamela Trevett, a victim. “I’m glad that there are consequences to his behavior.”
Trevett said she has been openly gay for a long time and, “I’ve had to deal with people’s ignorance many times in my lifetime,” she explained.
But she said this latest incident took the cake.
She was returning from the store in late June only to find a disturbing message spray-painted on her house.
“He graffitied ‘gay, a** mo-fo’ across my garage,” she said.
Trevett immediately painted over the message.
The teen responsible was arrested less than two weeks later.
Trevett lives on the 2000 block of Via Escuela.
Homes on the 2000 block of Magnolia Road and 2100 block of Deborah Road were also tagged.
“I hope he really learned his lesson,” said Trevett. “It’s just terrible.”
The defendant has since been released to his guardian. But authorities said he has been made a ward of the court.
He is required to perform 30 hours of community service, and pay $4,600 in restitution to the victims.
He was released from Indio Juvenile Hall on Monday.
“For someone to be victimized because of their personal beliefs or the way that they live their lives — we’re not going to tolerate it,” said Rhonda Long, an officer with the Palm Springs Police Department.
PSPD is still investigating a hate crime that happened in late August — the second hate crime reported in the city in two months.
Four men perceived to be gay were verbally and physically assaulted at an IHOP on South Indian Canyon, according to authorities.
But investigators have not received any tips from the public.
The victims have not provided any additional information.
Investigators are looking for four adult Hispanic males who were possibly driving a dark SUV.
“I think what’s important is the victims reporting it (and) making the public aware and give us an opportunity to do our job and put these people in jail where they belong,” said Long.
Trevett said she is happy the teenager responsible for vandalizing her home was caught and brought to justice.
She hopes he learned his lesson.
“I was devastated to think that kind of stuff can still be happening in Palm Springs,” she said.
Another victim of the tagging said more arrests are still outstanding from this crime.
He is working with police and the district attorney’s office to have them arrested and prosecuted.