Two 21-year-old men who went on a vandalism spree throughout Murrieta and neighboring cities, firing BBs through the windows of dozens of parked cars, pleaded guilty today to felony vandalism and were immediately sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to pay $47,000 in victim restitution.
Nicholas Anthony Fowler of San Diego and Joshua Patrick Rochford of Murrieta were charged in April with 87 felony and misdemeanor counts of vandalism for a nightlong pellet gun rampage that damaged vehicles throughout southwest Riverside County.
During a status conference today before Superior Court Judge Elaine Johnson, the two defendants agreed to plead guilty to a single count of felony vandalism and pay restitution in exchange for the District Attorney's Office dropping the other charges.
Johnson sentenced the men to 180 days in jail and 36 months probation. Johnson ordered that the restitution be paid in full prior to the expiration of the defendants' probation, else they could face additional penalties.
According to Murrieta police Sgt. Don Weller, in the predawn hours of April 19, Riverside County sheriff's officials alerted the police department to reports of suspects in a black Infiniti G-35 sports sedan with a loud tailpipe shooting out car windows in the area of Briggs and Scott roads.
Shortly afterward, a Murrieta patrolman spotted a car matching the description near Los Alamos Hills Sports Park, off Whitewood Road and less than a mile from Interstate 215. The officer stopped the driver on the spot.
Weller alleged the BB gun and other incriminating evidence were located in the vehicle, at which point both Fowler and Rochford were arrested without incident.
According to Weller, the duo blew out the windows on 40 parked cars in Murrieta alone, resulting in a minimum $4,500 damage.
"They were at it for a while, having a good time," Weller told City News Service in April.
Vehicles in Menifee, Temecula and Winchester were also damaged during the spree, Weller said.