Tagger Caused $45K in Damage

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A teenager who caused an estimated $45,000 in graffiti damage , also left his mark on the bodies of several teenage girls according to investigators.

    While serving a search warrant on the teenager's home, deputies found more than 100 pieces of evidence as well as a number of digital images showing four or five underage girls posing semi nude with graffiti painted on their bodies.

    "In my 24 years on the job with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, it’s the first time where I've seen a tagger was tagging a girl’s body," said Sgt. Joe Mata.

    Some of the girls, described as 14 or 15 years old, don’t even know they’re being used that way, Mata said.

    Deputies also reported finding several videos of a 15-year old performing sex acts on the suspect. If that holds true, this tagger will not only face 90+ counts of felony vandalism for the graffiti but could also face a charge of manufacturing child porn.

    The teenager had been spraying, etching and marking everything you can think of from poles, sidewalks, curbs, buildings and homes for close to a year.

    His crime spree ended when he was spotted tagging by Vista public workers who spend the day looking for gang graffiti and tagging graffiti. The city crew called the deputies who arrested the juvenile.

    The boy had converted a garage into a bedroom and inside, deputies found spray paint cans as well as etching tools used to scratch windows or glass.

    The teenager was arrested and booked into the Juvenile Detention Facility in San Diego.

    The city crew was instrumental in the arrest according to Sgt. Mata. When the workers see the graffiti, they photograph it and immediately paint over it.

    “The longer they have the graffiti on the wall, the more recognition [taggers] get,” said Mata.

    The teenager faces arraignment this week in juvenile court. If he doesn't have a prior history, he will likely get probation and be ordered to pay restitution, Mata said. Since the suspect is a juvenile, it's likely his parents will be picking up the tab for the damage done which is estimated at $45,000.