Arrests made in graffiti cases |

Arrests made in graffiti cases

Sara Thompson and Adam Jensen
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune Terry Millard, a driver with Bonanza Produce Co., uses turpentine and elbow grease Friday morning to remove graffiti from one of four trucks that were tagged the night before off Osgood Avenue.

For the fourth time in five months, Johnny Grossi had to remove spray paint from Bonanza Produce Co. trucks instead of delivering goods to customers.

The incident occurred Thursday at Bonanza Produce at 3717 Osgood Ave.

Grossi, who is the South Lake Tahoe branch supervisor for the company, said vandals spray-painted four trucks, the storage shed and the trash cans. He estimated the damage would cost the company $1,500.

On Friday, two male suspects, ages 16 and 17, were arrested on suspicion of the vandalism and booked into El Dorado County Juvenile Treatment Center in South Lake Tahoe.

A third suspect, a 15-year-old boy, also was cited for the graffiti, according to South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Marty Hale.

Police believe the three are responsible for similar graffiti at Embassy Suites and Americana Village within the past two weeks.

Also on Friday, 18-year-old South Lake Tahoe residents Scott Curtaz and Christopher McLean were arrested, and a 17-year-old male was cited, on suspicion of vandalism at nine South Lake Tahoe properties, Hale said.

The three are believed to be rivals of the first group of boys and are suspected of involvement in a back-and-forth to cover each other’s handiwork, said South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Herming Haus.

The arrests were made at a time when vandalism in South Lake Tahoe is on the rise.

“Basically, there has been an increase over the past 18 to 24 months,” said Community Service Officer Bob Albertazzi. “It has been significant.”

“The public is very frustrated,” he added.

This feeling extends to Johnny Grossi. He said for punishment, individuals involved with the crime should have to clean it up, or they should perform community service such as shoveling sidewalks around town.

Grossi said all the graffiti is cleaned off the trucks before making deliveries to clients. The vandalism inconveniences the whole town, he said. The deliveries are late, so restaurants and other businesses run behind schedule, resulting in a domino effect.

“Why would you want to do this to your town? It’s hideous,” Grossi said.

Victims of vandalism are encouraged to call South Lake Tahoe police so the damage can be documented, Albertazzi said.

With the help of local groups, the community service officer hopes to have a new graffiti-cleanup program started by this summer.

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