graffiti-tagger The San Diego police have a new tool that helps them catch graffiti vandals. To use the tool, police take pictures of the graffiti and geotag the pictures using GPS location. Then a special graffiti analyst compares that tagging incident with other incidents to match them up and help find the vandal.

“When we catch that individual, we can charge him not only with that graffiti crime, but all the other ones as well… By looking at the locations we can essentially see where the suspect may live because what we’re finding is a lot of times suspects tag right around their homes. So, what we can do is they happen in a certain neighborhood and then we can start tracking to see who’s tagging in that neighborhood and try to track the individual that way” says Escondido police Lieutenant Bob Benton.

An example of the Graffiti Tracker’s effectiveness can be seen in the case of 19-year-old Isaiah Gastumel of Escondido, who was arraigned on six felony and 146 misdemeanor counts of vandalism thanks to the system. The court originally ordered about $22,000 in restitution to local businesses, but after using the  Graffiti Tracker to find more of Isaiah’s “work,” the amount was brought up to more than $185,000. Lt. Benton said that is a real success story especially in a hard to prosecute crime like vandalism.

(Via 10News)

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John Scott

John Scott, officially L.A.’s oldest street vandal, was arrested this month for putting up hundreds of “Who Is John Scott?” stickers around Los Angeles. The police expected this to be the work of teenage “slap taggers”, who put up stickers all over the place advertising shoes, skateboards, music bands, and sometimes their own hand-drawn “art”. In this case, the stickers were advertising the website titled “Who is John Scott?”, which was selling T-shirts and hats, but were not developed by teenagers.

Police were monitoring a subway station for graffiti vandals when they noticed an older looking man putting up stickers on the walls. When they questioned and searched the man, they found him with tons of orange “Who is John Scott?” stickers, which have been responsible for thousands of dollars worth of damages within the last year.

The police were shocked at the age of this graffiti artist, making him officially the oldest street vandal ever caught.

“Up until this year, the oldest guy we had arrested was 36,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Erik Ruble. “We knew our guy was older, but not [73].”

As of right now, John Scott is being held in custody on a $20,000 bail on suspicion of felony vandalism. It is unclear if his case will be presented to the prosecutors, but the mystery of “Who is John Scott?” no longer exists.

(Via LATimes)

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