Tag — You're It

According to a sheriff's press release, deputies arrested a prolific graffiti tagger at his Vista home on December 28. The 16-year-old suspect was booked into the San Diego Juvenile Detention Facility on 232 counts of felony vandalism.

Most of the damage was done to Vista's South Santa Fe corridor but was not exclusive to that area. For about a year, the tagger painted graffiti on homes, businesses, sidewalks, and "anything else he could find," said deputy Elvis Cabrera.

If convicted, his parents will have to pay for the damage, which city officials estimate to be over $100,000. An investigation is still under way to determine if an additional 85 acts were committed by the same young man.

"Tagging is not an art," Cabrera said. "It's a crime."

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Since I'm guessing his parents won't be able to pay what the kid has cost property owners, how 'bout we make him work it off at minimum wage. Let him paint out graffiti at 7.25 an hour(or whatever minimum wage is now). That should give him a pretty good reality check of just how much damage he did. By my off-the-top-of-my-head math he owes us about 17,000 hours of work.

I'd like to know where they got 232 counts? Not only is it a weird number, but, I'd like to know if the cops were watching him and recording 232 counts. This story seems awfully fishy to me.

Police photograph graffitti, due to gang connections, and also, they recognize certain taggers work because of the frequency they come across it, and will document it and pursue finding the person responsible.

There is a freeway on-ramp at S. 35th and OceanView Blvd., N-15, that features a large blank wall, constantly graffittied, and it is right across the street from a firefighting station. Taggers work in teams, one as a lookout, one as the tagger. They are hooded and wear dark clothes, so you can't identify them, or call the police to catch them.

Tagging is an addiction. You have to treat taggers to break them out of the addiction.

Pistol Pete: Cabera said there was an extensive investigation of this particular tagger. They recognized his work and documented the damage for about a year. I asked him if the tagger was associated with a particular gang and he said they refer to the groups as tagging crews.

I also asked Cabrera if a tagger's work could be channeled in a more positive way. He said that other cities had given taggers approved places to paint and that only served as "practice."

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