Grinch leaves mark on South Lake Tahoe
Sometimes self-expression can go too far.
Police are looking for the person who spent the night before Christmas, and one other night last week, “tagging” several businesses and government buildings with spray paint.
Police received a total of 11 reports of odd symbols defacing such things as telephone poles and the Tahoe Valley Post Office at 950 Emerald Bay Road.
“Quite frankly, I’m not sure what some of the symbols we are seeing are,” South Lake Tahoe Police Department Cmdr. Rich McGuffin said.
“About the only thing I could make out,” said school resource officer Jeff Reagan, “was ‘Dusty.’ “
McGuffin added that the graffiti is probably the work of one underage person from the “Al Tahoe and Pioneer east area.”
The defacing of the Department of Motor Vehicles Office, at 3344 Lake Tahoe Blvd., Dec. 20, was one of the more obvious of 10 cases of vandalism on Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Pioneer Trail.
The Bank of America branch next to the DMV was another of the tagger’s targets.
“We have had graffiti in the past,” McGuffin said. “But we haven’t seen any significant problems in a long time.”
Vandals such as this one are typically caught, according to McGuffin.
“Yeah, we catch them,” McGuffin said. “Most of the time it is with the help of the community.”
McGuffin said the police would appreciate members of the community coming forward, and that a reward has been offered through the Secret Witness program.
In larger cities tagging is often considered a gang activity but McGuffin does not consider these incidents of vandalism gang related.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Deputy Pete Van Arnum agreed. As a former police school resource and gang officer, Van Arnum has been involved in several tagging cases.
“One kid can make the entire town look like it has a major problem with gangs or tagging,” he said.
According to both Van Arnum and Reagan, the markings are personal, making the vandals easier to catch.
“It’s kind of the way gang kids put their mark around town,” Van Arnum said. “It becomes their moniker.”
Reagan added, “Eventually someone turns them in.”
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