Police Blotter, By: Richard Brenneman

Friday January 06, 2006

Police Sting Captures Taggers, 

Including Alleged Ringleader 

Berkeley police cracked down on taggers Wednesday night, staging a stakeout that captured three of the graffiti artists, spray-can-handed. 

As a quick tour through the streets and along the railroad tracks of Berkeley’s industrial district quickly reveals, taggers have turned the area into their own playground, creating the distinctive works that are sometimes two and three stories high. 

In a Thursday afternoon statement, Berkeley Police Deparment Public Information Officer Shira Warren said that the sting resulted in arrests at 11 p.m. Wednesday. 

“While we are certain that these three are not the only persons responsible for graffiti in the city of Berkeley, we are certain we have caught one of the main perpetrators responsible for most of the graffiti crimes in that part of town,” Warren reported. 

City laws require that business owners clean up after the spray-painters, and Warren said costs of ongoing repairs have run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

The stakeout was the result of a coordinated investigation which included the assistance of the Public Works, Parks and Recreation and Waterfront departments headed by Sgt. Erik Upson. 

“We take graffiti crimes very seriously,” said Upson. “We use all available resources to hold [perpetrators] responsible for their crimes.”›