Teens arrested for extensive tagging

Police have arrested five teenagers suspected of being part of a
tagging crew responsible for extensive vandalism throughout the
city.
By Lori Stuenkel

Gilroy – Police have arrested five teenagers suspected of being part of a tagging crew responsible for extensive vandalism throughout the city.

Three of the teens, all male students of Gilroy High School, were arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism, and two were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor vandalism. Police expect one or two more arrests will follow. Their names are not being released because they are minors.

The first male juvenile was arrested a couple weeks ago and is facing felony charges, said Community Service Officer Angela Locke-Paddon.

The remaining four were arrested between Thursday, Jan. 13, through the beginning of this week, at GHS. Two are 16 years old, one is 15 and one is 17, she said.

“This one tagging crew has been hitting us pretty hard the last couple weeks: Schools, churches, businesses, restaurants. Just climbing up on rooftops, fences, garage doors, everything you can think of,” she said.

Their spray-painted tagging was seen on at least three schools and one church, she said, but she declined to provide any more details to avoid giving the juveniles credit for their crimes.

Gilroy police Detective Randy Bentson with the department’s Anti-Crime Team is continuing the investigation, including determining the amount of damage caused by the teens.

GPD paid a contractor $2,100 to cover up graffiti during December, but not all of it was attributed to this group, while some residents whose homes were vandalized took care of the graffiti themselves, Locke-Paddon said.

Gilroy Unified School District is working on a cost estimate for the damage to the schools.

Anyone with information about this case may contact the Gilroy Police Department at 846-0350.

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