Tagged with a big-time fine – Vandal ordered to pay ten grand in restitution

The notorious vandal responsible for defacing several Blue Line trains inside the Orient Heights MBTA rail yard in East Boston back in 2005 pleaded guilty last Friday and will face jail time and have to pay restitution to the MBTA for his crime.

Jim Clay Harper, 25. of Wilmette, Illinois, pleaded guilty to seven counts of vandalizing property for spray painting his tag, “ETHER,” on a series of Blue, Red, and Orange Line train cars five years ago. Dorchester District Court Judge Rosalind Miller sentenced him to on year in a house of correction with six months to serve and the balance suspended for a probationary period of one year. Miller also ordered Harper to pay $10,000 in restitution to the MBTA.

Beginning in early June 2005, MBTA Transit Police noticed a considerable increase in graffiti vandalism. Specifically, they noticed the tag “ETHER” on Blue Line trains at the Orient Heights rail yard. The tag then began popping up on Red Line trains in the Codman Yard rail yard and Orange Line trains at Forest Hills train station.

Harper was identified as the culprit in part through his collaboration with Danielle Bremmer, 28, who used the tag “UTAH” when she spray-painted Back Bay residences in 2006. Bremner pleaded guilty last year, receiving her own six-month jail term and five-figure restitution order.

On Aug. 11, 2008, the Transit Bureau of the New York City Police Department informed MBTA Transit Police that Harper and Bremner were close associates and that Harper had been arrested for leaving the “ETHER” tag in Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Both Harper and Bremner had been convicted of graffiti-related offenses in New York.

Both Harper and Bremner’s criminal past and the fact they continued to use the same tags even after being prosecuted in other states led MBTA Transit Police and the Suffolk County D.A. to indict and arrest the duo.

Assistant District Attorney Brendan Murphy of Suffolk County D.A. Daniel Conley’s Special Prosecutions Unit handled the case. Murphy was assigned both Bremner’s and Harper’s cases as a district court prosecutor and secured Bremner’s plea last year. He retained Harper’s case even after his promotion to a Superior Court trial team.

Harper was represented by attorney John Brien.

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