Two juveniles arrested for 100+ graffiti tags in Washoe County

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Updated: 12/16/2013 6:45 pm
Reno, NV (KRNV & MyNews4.com)- There’s a line between art and vandalism, and to Lieutenant Scott Dugan, street tagging is not art.

Dugan oversees the Regional Gang Unit, which closed a large graffiti investigation this week after two juveniles were arrested and charged for 106 graffiti tags in Washoe County this year alone. The damages they caused resulted in close to $13,000 in clean-up alone.

This graffiti bust resulted from a stop last week when an officer stopped two teens with $400 worth of stolen spray paint on them. After the week-long investigation, the two juveniles confessed to their crimes.

Police say these two teens are the most prolific taggers in the area, and hope it will help decrease graffiti in the county.
“The clearest difference is those that are doing art have permission to do it where they're doing it, and the people who are out there putting up these destructive tags are doing just that. They’re being destructive to property. It’s vandalism,” says Dugan.

Dugan says the pair's work is some of the most prolific at the moment, and police are hopeful the arrests will decrease vandalism in the county, but says, problematic graffiti vandals pop up in cycles.

“For us to be effective in arresting those causing graffiti we need to know immediately,” says Dugan. “So we ask those who are witnessing the crimes in progress to call 911.”

A new City of Reno app can be used to report unwanted tags, which alerts the graffiti task force.

Dugan says it’s important to report and record these tags because the damages cost more than just clean up.

“The economic impact extends beyond that when businesses come into our community,” says Dugan. “They want to set up shop, and they see that graffiti. It’s going to deter them from wanting to put a business in a certain area because there's an appearance of crime in the neighborhood.”

To date, the city has spent more than $800,000 on graffiti prevention, recording, and abatement, and that doesn't extend to other economic costs associated with this type of vandalism.

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Reno Dave - 12/18/2013 4:26 AM
0 Votes
It's about time the cops made a significant arrest for tagging. It seems like all the misdemeanor calls get no action or resolution unless the average citizen gets involved.

Dogboy - 12/17/2013 6:16 PM
0 Votes
I wish Mills Lane was still in office. He would let them have it in no uncertain terms. I can hear him now. "Want to play? Lets get it on."

GMann - 12/17/2013 10:30 AM
3 Votes
Throw the book at them!!! Societal garbage. Give them hard time, and make them pay restitution too. No plea bargains. These scumbags make our town look like crap and need to pay the piper for their crimes.

Justdoit - 12/17/2013 9:29 AM
3 Votes
Thank you RPD for a job well done. Unfortunately, as for our broken and inept criminal justice system good money bet will be placed on no restitution and will get probation!

Bubbles - 12/17/2013 7:18 AM
2 Votes
Instead of arresting them they should have shot them and left them next to some of their vandalism as a deterrent to the next pile of waste vandalizing someone else property. Too bag our "judicial system" is a corrupt joke and will do nothing to these poor unfortunate file in the blank pieces of waste who will be let go.
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