Three charged in graffiti tagging, problem continues

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND (WWBT) - Three people from Richmond are facing misdemeanor charges for destruction of property, after police arrest them in the last two days for tagging graffiti throughout the city.

Police arrested 31-year-old Michael Atkinson of Richmond, 22-year-old Ricky Portillo of Richmond and 21-year-old Noah Fiel of Richmond, all for graffiti vandalism. Police tell us Atkinson tagged the Davis and Main restaurant. Meanwhile, police say Noah Fiel tagged the Chanello's Pizza Place at the intersection of Broad and the Boulevard.

Despite these arrests, there are still others out on the run who are responsible for tagging areas of the city.

People like Charles Pflugrath knows graffiti is a problem in all cities. But he wants it out of Richmond's Fan district.

"It's visual littering. That's what it is, it's garbage, garbage on the sides of the buildings painted in a way that makes it much more difficult to pick up than the occasional beer can," Charles said.

He, and the Fan District Association, are working with police to rid the area of the tagging. "Tired of graffiti popping up, especially because we take such pride in our neighborhood," he said.

Police say there are several things you can do to stop this. First, be on the look out for someone stopping in the alleyways for unknown reasons. Secondly, if you see someone hiding or ducking from passing cars, that's a sign someone may be tagging. Third, you need to know that the graffiti tagging usually occurs in the early morning hours.

Also, something you may not have thought of is listening for the sound that the spray cans make when people shake it. It rattles and that's the sound of the spray paint can you should listen for. That way you can tell if someone is possibly putting graffiti on your home.

What may seem like fun, carries serious consequences if you're caught by police. You'll be facing a misdemeanor charge, unless the damage you do costs more than $1,000. If it does, is it upgraded to a felony.

"I think the only way to do that is to arrest these people, to find them or put them in jail so they understand what they are doing is defacing property," Charles said.

If you notice someone is tagging your neighborhood with graffiti, the first thing you need to do is call police. That way they can catch the person responsible.

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