Vista, California - A prolific tagger accused of causing almost $90,000 in damage was arrested by San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies Thursday.
Deputies arrested Bladimir Lopez at a home in Vista after investigating more than 300 cases of graffiti vandalism linked to the suspect. It cost the City of Vista $89,500 to clean up the graffiti.
Lopez was identified with the help of Graffiti Tracker, a program used by the Sheriff’s department to track gang graffiti. The San Diego County Multi-Discipline Graffiti Abatement Program uses the software to document acts of graffiti and link them to the responsible taggers, even if they cross jurisdictional boundaries.
Members of law enforcement or public works take pictures of graffiti with a GPS-enabled camera, and the photographs are uploaded to a web database. Graffiti Tracker decodes the photographed “tags”—usually a vandal’s initials or nickname—and organizes them in a database. The location of identical tags can then be displayed on a map or a list, revealing patterns in place, time and frequency. Law enforcement can view a list of the top taggers in a city or region, look at the patterns of when and where the tagging occurred and use traditional investigative techniques to develop a suspect.
The Sheriff’s department said Lopez was arrested and booked at the Vista Detention Facility on vandalism-related charges.
Read more about the County’s Multi-Discipline Graffiti Abatement Program on County News Center.