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Suspected 'cat' tagger arrested

An Alhambra graphic designer accused of being a prolific tagger responsible for painting cat figures on freeways and buildings around downtown Los Angeles was charged Friday with six counts of felony vandalism.

Rick Ordonez, 33, could face more than six years in prison if convicted. Ordonez, whose moniker is “Atlas,” was arrested Wednesday and is slated to be arraigned Friday afternoon in a downtown courtroom, authorities said.

The Sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau, which specializes in pursuing high-profile taggers, made the arrest after what detectives said was an extensive investigation. The arrest was made based on tips and information gathered in the community.

Most of the infamous cat paintings were plastered on state and local transit properties, particularly in an around the Pasadena Freeway. According to investigators, Ordonez has associations with a tagging crew and is a cat owner.

Prosecutors allege Ordonez struck between January and March of this year on property own by the California Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

According to investigators, he allegedly is responsible for at least $15,000 in damage. He is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail. If convicted, Ordonez faces a possible maximum state prison term of six years and four months, along with suspension of his California driver’s license.

-- Richard Winton

Comments () | Archives (30)

In Singapore, he would be lashed until near bleeding to death and then jailed. They do not have a problem with tagging.

We have a spike in the homicide rate and this is what we get!!
This is an OUTRAGE!!!
I am serious we spend far too too much on police we need to down size the police force and form neighborhood organizations that can greater combat the crime in our city people empower your selves stop looking to others for the answer,
all we get is this limp police work and that is what gives us gangs!!
They don't allow gangs in south America only here do we have this problem because we rely on idiots to handle our problems.

I've noticed some of Atlas' cat work off the 101 and 10. I have to say that they were always on public space (on the wall of a overpass, i.e). I've never seen this artist deface signs, windows or private property. Not to mention, Atlas is pretty talented artist. It's a shame that city has put so much time and resources to apprehend such an individual.

Six years and four months in prison for tagging is over the top. And they would suspend his drivers license. I guess he will have to walk to chow with the rest of the cons.

33 years old? LOL, still writing on walls, and the gang prevention activist killed on Pico blvd. just mean: its kids trying to express themselves argument is out the window now?

Woooooeeeee!! What a relief. I was just about to bust a vein thinking someone is spray painting pets!

Shadowpark..They don't allow gangs in So. America!!! funniest and stupidist thing I've read all day

I always thought a proper punishment for taggers would be an open house tagging party at the taggers place of residence. Under proper supervision the "house" would be open for anyone to come in with a spray can and go wild. Walls, furniture, appliances etc, everything would be fair game.

Still laughing at no gangs in So. America

if he is an illegal, deport him, after he serves his 6 years.

Hey LA Times. You really need to hire a proofreader.

Free Atlas......!!
He is innocent, he is a graphic designer. Shouldn't the Sheriffs Dept. be instead dealing with hardened felony homicide gang related criminals?
Free Atlas.......!!
Snaps Oner Like No Other 1993-1997

Shadowpark.........What planet do you live on? It can't be this one.

Wow. Arrest an actual artist/designer instead of the cretins that filthy up the communities with actual tagging and gang lingo. AND put the guy in prison too. Yeah, that'll keep the community safer. Those rascally artists! They're such a threat to property and well being.

BTW I rather liked the cat graffiti.

Wow. Arrest an actual artist/designer instead of the cretins that filthy up the communities with actual tagging and gang lingo. AND put the guy in prison too. Yeah, that'll keep the community safer. Those rascally artists! They're such a threat to property and well being.

BTW I rather liked the cat graffiti.

Before he does his time in prison they need to make him clean up all his "art" and repair all the defacement he's created. At his own expense.

This guy is 33 years old and he is out tagging faces of cats on buildings and other private property. He needs to grow up and be a man and stop acting like a teenager. I guess he likes the attention he gets from doing this crap.


But when SHEPARD FAIREY DOES IT ....ITS OK...... i wonder why???.....lol

I have seen the 'Cat' tag on the Pasadena freeway. I have to tell you... of all the tags it is the lease offensive. Even cute. I think the majority of taggers are just untalented design wannabes or just plain childish. They want to be the underground something-or-another.... but their work is just scribble and undeveloped. And when they scribble over excellent work they look like jealous doofuses.

I think we should encourage good art on and round say, the ugly parts of the neighborhoods. If someone is talented we SHOULD and I think we NEED to support their work. I think we should encourage work that is interesting, new. I think we should even have contests for originality, thought provoking tags. AND we should look to the older ones that are frankly, beautiful, with high esteem. When done with thoughtful and unique style, tags - wall paintings - make the neighborhoods special - that is what I get from tagging - and we should encourage that.

To Fred: "In Singapore, he would be lashed until near bleeding to death and then jailed. They do not have a problem with tagging."

Yeah, and the Taliban would cut his head off. You might want to get some standards for your role models. BTW, nice pile of racism reflected in these comments -- the guy has a Hispanic last name and some dimwit assumes he's here illegally? I see no reference in this story to his immigration status, but hey -- why not just assume something offensive and stupid? Why don't you stick to the reported facts and suggest we whip and deport cat owners?

A guy running around painting pictures of cats does not exactly strike me as a pressing threat. This whole campaign of going after "high-profile" taggers seems to me to be more about the police garnering publicity than making L.A. safer. Taggers who have their own thing going on are a whole lot less dangerous than anonymous gangsters marking turf, but then again they're a lot less scary to arrest, aren't they?

And why is it that the Hispanic and black taggers get arrested, while white guys like Shepherd Fairey and Robbie Conal get lauded, put on talk shows, and given teaching gigs at USC?

And a special shout-out to the guy who says South America doesn't have gangs. It takes a special kind of person to deliberately visit a news site and yet remain absolutely information-free. Do you wear special fact-repellent clothing?



He would have been a celebrated artist if he did dogs. Cats are just plain evil

Billions of fish are dying .... hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs .... many will fall ill for the consequences caused by the disaster of human greed... shown and jail .... no ..... and the power of justice strikes a poor street performer with all its hardness .... poor America! "!
Powerful to the weak ... weak with the strong !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Prosecute, lock up, get more of these criminals behind bars and off the streets. If I want art I can buy it. This is criminal destruction of public property.
And to the LA Times. Mugshot, please.

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