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'Cat' tagger pleads guilty to felony vandalism

July 13, 2010 |  5:01 pm

An Alhambra graphic designer accused of being a prolific tagger responsible for painting cat figures on freeways and buildings around downtown Los Angeles pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single felony vandalism count, authorities said.

Rick Ordonez, 33, could have faced more than six years in prison and suspension of his driver's license if convicted of all six felony vandalism counts against him.

As part of a plea bargain, Ordonez will serve 90 days in county and be required to complete 300 hours of community service in addition to being placed on three years' probation. The remaining five counts will be dismissed at sentencing July 20.

Ordonez, whose moniker is "Atlas," also must pay restitution to Caltrans for tagging that took place between January and March of this year. A judge will determine the amount when Ordonez is sentenced.

The Sheriff’s Transit Services Bureau, which specializes in pursuing high-profile taggers, arrested Ordonez 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 and around the Pasadena Freeway. According to investigators, Ordonez has associations with a tagging crew and is a cat owner.

According to investigators, Ordonez was responsible for at least $15,000 in damage to Caltrans and Metropolitan Transit Authority property.

-- Andrew Blankstein