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Daredevil tagger 'Buket' gets nearly four years in prison


"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


Walls of L.A. River are a prime canvas for taggers

Internet gives graffiti vandals a global audience

More photos >>

Comments () | Archives (70)

Does this guy have any artistic talent, or can he only spell his name in block letters? Anyways.....sending someone to prison for this type of crime is more than stupid, it's criminal. You know who he is, you know where he lives, you have him, make him work cleaning up the mess he created, and pay what he owes. Prison will turn him from an idiot, into a criminal. Way to go LA DA, you have the mouth breathers swooning over this bit of "justice".

4 years is not enoguh for this idiot. They should flog this idiot 40 times and he will never do graffitti again.

He better come up with a better story when asked what's he in for. If he answers "tagging" he just might have a hard time in there.

Hey Cyrus, here's a couple words of advice that will help you where you are going: Don't drop the soap in the shower!

So long, sonny. Too bad you wasted your one-and-only life this way. Wish you would have put your energy into something positive. OH WELL!

He should be permanently banished from LA county, serious. Can that still be done?

and let's hope and pray the scumbag does the time...

Sweet... now on top of paying for the cleanup, tax payers have to foot the bill to house and feed him for four years? They'll never get all of that fine collected, noe you likely just made an "off the books worker" that can't have money taken out of a paycheck -another looss of potential thousands of dollars. Give the guy community service and force him to work for the state cleanup up crew - with normal wage minus a few dollars- for 4 years as a sentence.

Apparently it costs $60K to clean off the graffiti because of the polution problems that comes with just sandblasting it off, and the stuff gets in the L.A. River. It's a little ironic because so much trash and crap gets in the river anyway.

On one hand, I'm glad he'll be serving time. But how much is it going to cost to have him spend four years in prison? What does that accomplish? I'd rather have him on some sort of house arrest for the next ten years, "serving time" cleaning off graffiti all over Los Angeles.

This punk should have gotten 40 years.

Wow the police are lame man four years in prison?.. that place kills your spirit... thats a brutal sentence just for street art!... makes me happy that gangs are taking over police in mexico... they should start doing that here in the U.S....


obviously with a "moniker" like that your just as guilty as he is. Hope your next punk. Improved the LA River? Not. You scum have no brains, no taste, no art, no awareness except your own acted out anger. Grow up and become useful instead of destructive.

$60,000 what a complete joke.
KURO, you're the idiot who should be locked up, you're clearly mentally ill.
keeping him in an already overcrowded jail, for this petty minor offence, is just gonna cost your already near bankrupt cali state more money.

While I am glad he is going to jail (his crime isn't violent, but it does degrade the quality of a civilized community - if you think otherwise, you are not civilized), I agree with others that a much better punishment is to fine him for the cost of other cleaning his mess, and THEN have him spend the next 4 years cleaning up after the countless other dummies who vandalize community property (even if it is art, it's vandalism - if you want to produce art, there are many other ways to do it that are legal and don't degrade communities - I like drag racing, but I don't drag race on a public road - I go to the race track ....get the idea?).

If he were given such a sentence, how ironic it would be if, after a year or so, he was going back to the same spots, over and over again, and spending an 8-hour day cleaning up after some other dummy. Eventually, he would say to himself, "God DAMN, I wish these idiots would stop painting graffiti."

Ahhhh, perchance to dream.

BTW, exactly how devoid self-esteem and sense of worth must one be to be reduced to having to spray paint your "nickname" in public property so that you can be somebody?


All of you who think putting a writer in jail is the answer to everything are retarded. You are no better than the writer himself. People should only go to jail if they murder rape or steal. I am sorry LA But you have this whole graffiti thing the wrong way. For example, instead of putting money towards new books for education you go and spend half a million dollars on a company to repaint the LA River. Why? When all of you out there know it's only a waste of money and it will eventually lead to more painting. The war on graffiti is stupid. Trying to mask our cities with white paint from the truth of our own citizens just trying to express their own forms. It really is a beautiful thing. Ugly or not it takes you away from the everyday dull look of bland concrete. Color; its all it really is. Why the cover up? Are you really threatened by its presence? Graffiti is a global phenomenon. It will be victorious. It will always stand. It will always paint over your boring repainted white walls. Putting writers in a jail cell isn't going to fix your problems. It's only going to make it worse.

Nuff Said.

lets go bombing lol

Putting non-violent offenders in jail is ridiculous. I can't believe the amount of soul-less people that really think that putting this guy in jail is really going to teach him a 'lesson' or solve the graffiti problem in LA.

Personally, I have never tagged or bombed a wall, but I do see it as art unlike other people. I also find it more appealing to look at then something plain and boring.

Anyways, putting bucket away in jail isn't going to solve anything and will make that guys life worse.

We need to stop putting non-violent offenders in jails with murderers, and rapists and all things bad. Its just going to ruin another life. Have him do something positive like teach kids how to be artistic; maybe not in graffiti but in something.

Save prison space for real criminals...graff writers should not be put in prison, it makes no sense.

Four years of prison time is an absolute waste of tax-payers money.
And, BUKET is not a tagger - he's a graff writer and an artist.
The LA River needs some beautification, and the graff there looks great - not the tagging. There's a huge difference.

No question - when I see the work of toys, it's an eyesore. Tags are even worse.
Use that money for art lessons and supplies in our schools so they can practice
their work in Black Books first.

ya buket writes for the notoriety but plenty of people just do it because they don't know any other way to express themselves.

-Public Property is everyones, do what you want with it

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