January 20, 2003

A Chicago man will spend three years in prison for vandalizing Chicago Transit Authority property. Carlos Sanchez pled guilty to charges of felony criminal damage to property and damage to state-supported property on January 16, 2003. His plea comes as the CTA strengthens its crackdown on vandals.

On October 30, 2002 Chicago Police conducting surveillance along the Orange Line caught the 18-year-old Sanchez and a juvenile vandalizing six panes of glass on a CTA rail platform at 3528 South Leavitt at the 35th/Archer Station. The defendant admitted to police that he used etching cream to etch ?MC? into the glass.

Damage in excess of $300 qualifies as a felony offense in Illinois. According to the CTA's law department this incident is the first time someone has been charged with a felony for acid etching on its property.

Following his arrest Sanchez also was found to be in violation of his probation for a prior drug conviction.

"The CTA is serious about maintaining a clean and safe environment for customers," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?We spend approximately $4.45 million annually to clean up graffiti and replace etched glass on our vehicles and facilities, we would rather see these funds used to maintain and upgrade the system."

?Persons caught in the commission of illegal activities will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?As we work to manage our budget, absorbing the cost of repairing damaged property is not the way we want to spend our money."

Additionally, the CTA filed a civil lawsuit against Sanchez on January 2, 2003. The agency is seeking $1,700 as repayment for the cost of repairing the damage.

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