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Willmar teen pleads not guilty in October graffiti spree throughout city

WILLMAR -- A 16-year-old Willmar boy pleaded not guilty Monday to three felony charges for an Oct. 18 graffiti spate on homes and businesses along the city's northeast side and at other locations around Willmar.

Albert Martin Navarro faces charges of third-degree burglary, first-degree damage to property and first-degree aiding and abetting damage to property. He also faces gross misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree burglary in Kandiyohi County District Court. His next appearance is Jan. 6.

Felony charges against 16- and 17-year-olds are public information.

Navarro is the second person charged in connection to the graffiti incidents. Scott Riley Olson, 18, of Willmar, pleaded guilty last week to two felony charges for third-degree burglary and first-degree criminal damage to property. He will be sentenced Jan. 14.

According to the petition against Navarro, Willmar police received numerous reports of graffiti on garages, buildings, vehicles and apartment buildings starting on Oct. 19. The reports were of graffiti from the northeast side, along with homes, a church and businesses scattered at other locations in the city.

One of the reports included that someone had entered a garage and dumped gallons of paint on a vehicle, causing $670 in damage. The cost to clean up the other graffiti was estimated well in excess of $1,000.

The same day, officers located Olson and Navarro and questioned them about the graffiti. Navarro had paint, in the same colors as the graffiti, on his hands. He claimed to not know how it got on his hands. He said he was with Olson the night before, but retracted his statement later.

Navarro later informed the high school resource officer that he was involved in the graffiti and assisted with identifying the damage. He also said the pair had entered three garages, stolen items and drank rum straight from the bottle while spraying the damage.

The officer also interviewed Olson, who said he was too drunk and too high to remember all the locations that were damaged. He admitted that whatever Navarro told the officer was true. The officer later obtained writings at the high school that were known to be created by Olson. Many matched the graffiti found by police on Oct. 19.