A Bronx teen was arrested Tuesday on charges of scrawling graffiti over a Bronx mural honoring a fallen 9/11 hero - and promptly told cops he was sorry he'd done it.

Avery Prince, 17, put his tag, "SIPS," over the face of Firefighter Peter Bielfeld on a mural near the Bravest's former home in Olinville, cops said.

His MySpace:
http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid =142792817

Prince's father, Curtis Rushing, a city sanitation worker, reiterated his son's apology and added one of his own.

"He said he was deeply sorry. He didn't know that it represented 9/11 and meant so much to so many people," Rushing said. "I always told him when you do things they will always come back to you. You have to be careful."

Rushing expressed remorse to the firefighter's family and to the mural's artist, Eddie Rodriguez. He said his son offered to help repair the work.

Rushing, who lives with his wife and three children on Barker Ave., the street Bielfeld had lived on, said he hoped the arrest "opens my son's eyes."

Prince, a junior at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the South Bronx, has always liked to draw and wants to be an architect, his dad said.

He said his son's only prior run-in with the law was a ticket for jumping a subway turnstile.

Ernest Bielfeld, the firefighter's 74-year-old father, was relieved a suspect had been caught.

"This is great," the father said. "It's terrific. This makes my day."

Bielfeld said he would like to speak to Prince one day about his son and his heroic acts on 9/11. He was happy Prince volunteered to help restore the artwork.

Peter Bielfeld ran into the World Trade Center even though he was on sick leave with injuries he suffered fighting a fire three days earlier.

"Maybe it's a start of something good coming out of something bad," Ernest Bielfeld said. "Maybe the kid will grow up and realize you can't just do what you want."

The Daily News had offered a reward of $5,000 to catch the vandal, and several police officers from the Bronx and Brooklyn stepped up to bring it to $6,000.

The Citywide Vandals Task Force found Prince after getting information from other Bronx youths arrested for graffiti, a police source said.

Victor DiPierro, community affairs officer of the 49th Precinct, said the mural's artist will decide whether Prince can help with the restoration.

"Kids, they don't realize," Ernest Bielfeld said. "To lose anybody is hard, but to lose one of your sons or daughters, you don't get over it. There's no such thing as closure. It fades a little, but it is always there."


I guess this isn't as serious of a crime as murder and what not, but hey, his ass got caught. Sorry doesn't always fix what you've done.