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Daredevil tagger 'Buket' gets nearly four years in prison

September 10, 2009 |  1:16 pm

Buket600

"Buket," the daredevil tagger who gained Internet notoriety for his brazen, daylight tagging of a sign over the 101 Freeway and vandalism of a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus, was sentenced today to three years and eight months in state prison.

Cyrus Yazdani, 26, was on probation after pleading guilty in December to 32 felony vandalism counts. In July, he pleaded no contest to one count of felony vandalism and accepted financial responsibility for five vandalism incidents. Four of the counts were dismissed today. Yazdani must pay $117,196 in restitution.

Los Angeles County sheriff's transit investigators arrested Yazdani in May after "Buket" tags appeared on the 7th Street Bridge, the Cesar Chavez Bridge and in the 4200 block of South Broadway.

Sheriff's officials said Yazdani was found in possession of scribers, which are used in tagging. He also had paint splatter on his clothing.

In December, after pleading guilty Yazdani was sentenced to 10 months in county jail, 256 hours of graffiti removal duty and five years' formal probation. He was released from jail based on credit for time served.

That case stemmed from a tagging spree between 2005 and 2007, during which, authorities said, the 26-year-old San Jose State graduate slapped his tags on buses, freeway walls and overpasses as well as the concrete lining of the Los Angeles River.

Yazdani became something of an Internet sensation when he plastered his "Buket" bomb 20 feet above the busy Hollywood Freeway -- vandalism that was captured on videotape and posted with a rap soundtrack on YouTube and numerous tagger-related blogs.

Another daylight attack, which was also videotaped, appeared to show "Buket" applying his moniker to a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus as passersby and passengers watched in surprise.

A YouTube video that captured both tagging exploits has more than 450,000 views. But the notoriety also got the attention of sheriff's transit investigators, who arrested Yazdani in May.

Sheriff's officials said they had evidence that Yazdani had marked hundreds of freeway overpasses, concrete walls and transit buses across the state and southern Nevada.

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies and officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified at least 20 "Buket" scrawlings along a stretch of the river spanning a couple of miles, causing an estimated $60,000 in damage.

—Andrew Blankstein

Photo: A Buket tag in the Los Angeles River captured in May 2008.

Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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