Graffiti artists accused of tagging dozens of buildings across Albany are arrested.
Albany Police say two men confessed to doing much of the graffiti that sprang up around town in the last two months.
Business and property owners say they're glad the suspected culprits are in jail.
Albany Police and lots of business owners did not think this tagging of graffiti art on walls was funny. Many of those property owners told me it will cost them thousands of dollars to clean their walls. Some said the paint won't come off and they may have to replace bricks. Investigators say the community helped them stop this vandalism.
This is some of the graffiti that you have probably seen in Albany lately. Leigh Hardy of Taylor's Market on Dawson Road got tired of cleaning it off their ice machine and mail box.
Hardy said "It was just real aggravating when you have to come out and scrap it off. They need something else constructive to do other than doing this on everyone else property."
Well 20 year old Calvin Benton and 21 year old Alexander Delarosa are in jail tonight, facing between 15 and 25 counts of criminal trespass and other charges. Albany Police, especially the gang task force, were determined to stop them.
Albany Police Chief John Proctor said "You may think it's a simple crime, but it defaces the community. And it's a simple thing, if you don't pay attention to smaller things, bigger things can happen."
City Commissioners recently strengthened the graffiti ordinance, and are determined to keep Albany tag free.
City Commissioner Roger Marietta said "You can get a canvas if you are an artist. To do it on somebody else's property is just rather intrusive, and obviously very illegal."
Police offered a $1000 reward for information on these tags, and they say a CRIMESTOPPERS call helped lead them to Benton and Delarosa. They confessed, and said they did it because they think it's art. They painted the words sense and coma on dozens of buildings, and it turns out that is a tribute to their favorite bands.
Lt. Tony Moore said "If you look at some of the punk rock groups, one happens to be named "Coma", and another happens to be named "Sense."
Benton and Delarosa were big time taggers. Take a look at this tag on the side of the old Flint River Cotton Mill. This tag is about 6 and a half feet tall, and about 30 feet long. Police say when they searched the roommates home, they found lots of evidence, the paint and magic markers they used.
Chief Proctor brought out some of the gang unit and other officers who worked to stop the tagging, thanking them for their work. Business owners hope the arrests will send a clear message that tagging will not be tolerated here.
Albany Police plan to file more charges against the two suspects.
They're even looking into whether federal charges could be filed since mailboxes were vandalized.
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