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Suspected 'cat' tagger arrested

July 2, 2010 |  4:25 pm

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