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Graffiti crackdown leads to arrest of 15 tagger suspects

August 18, 2011 |  7:33 am

Graffiti in Sylmar in 2008
More than a dozen suspected vandals have been arrested on suspicion of damaging or defacing school or Metropolitan Transportation Authority property, officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Thursday.

At least 15 suspects were arrested on suspicion of graffiti, narcotics and theft of auto parts. Five others are being sought for allegedly giving false information to their probation officers.

Among those arrested were 21-year-old Omar Carpio, of Sylmar, and three of his family members, sheriff's officials said. Carpio is suspected of causing more than $10,000 in damage to Sylmar High School, the Metro Gold Line and local freeways.

Carpio was tied to the vandalism after a Los Angeles Unified School District police officer conducted a background search and consulted graffiti databases, authorities said.

During the search, the officer linked him to the tag “Mars,” which had been spray-painted on Sylmar High School property.

In early July, sheriff's transit deputies, the probation department, LAUSD police and nearly two dozen civilian volunteers formed a task force to target vandals who had defaced schools and MTA property.

As part of their investigation, authorities Tuesday served 32 probation and search warrants throughout the cities of Los Angeles County, including the cities of Los Angeles, Cudahy, Gardena, Inglewood, Lynwood and Sylmar.


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-- Andrew Blankstein


Photo: Graffiti along Sayre Street in Sylmar in 2008. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times