A vandalism suspect was caught “black handed” on Saturday, May 3 after being found covered in black spray paint after fleeing the scene of his crime at a Santa Monica Rite-Aid store.
Officers of the Santa Monica Police Department were called out to Rite-Aid at 2414 Pico Boulevard at 10:30 pm on this day after an employee of the store had been tipped off by a customer that a man was spraying graffiti on the wall of the business.
The employee had also discovered that the graffiti artist had been applying black spray paint in order to create some kind of urban message in letters that were approximately six feet tall.
The employee informed the dispatch that she had asked the offender to stop but that he had ignored her and that she had returned to the store in order to summon the assistance of the officers.
When the officers arrived they spoke with the employee and discovered that the employee had seen the suspect leave the scene in a white Toyota, but only after he had spray-painted another building with low-grade graffiti.
The employee had managed to obtain the license plate number of the white Toyota and so the officers went in search of the vehicle.
The officers discovered this car at the intersection of Frank Street and Virginia Avenue. They questioned the driver of the vehicle who suspiciously displayed black paint on his clothing and one of his hands.
The officers took a look inside the vehicle and coincidentally found some cans of spray paint inside the car.
No prizes for guessing what color the cans of spray paint were.
The officers looked around the neighborhood and noticed several other walls with similar examples of perceivably inept attempts at art creation in the form of simple black lettering formed in a language that may or may not have been recognizable.
The officers, based upon the evidence, arrested this 30-year-old resident of Los Angeles and he was charged with vandalism.
Given that the tone of the graffiti was of a gang related nature this man was also charged with gang enhancement.
Bail was set at $40,000.
Editor’s Note: These reports are part of a regular police coverage series entitled “Alert Police Blotter” (APB), which injects some minor editorial into certain police activities in Santa Monica. Not all of The Mirror’s coverage of incidents involving police are portrayed in this manner. More serious crimes and police-related activities are regularly reported without editorial in the pages of the Santa Monica Mirror and its website, smmirror.com.